Skip to main content

Full text of "Robert Wang - The Qabalistic Tarot - 1983"

See other formats



Robert Wang 




Robert Wang 


York Beach, Maine 


c' i&ixes 'A 

^nnKDn • 
> -X? 6 ^4 

The Tarot Symbols on the Tree of Life, 




Modem Tarot Studies: A Nineteenth Century Legacy 1 

The Search For “Truth” 5 

The Golden Dawn 10 

The Golden Dawn Tarot 12 

The Rider -Waite Deck 13 

Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot 14 

Book “T” ' * ’ ’ 15 


Origins of the Qabalah 20 

The Sepher Yetzirah (Book of Formation) 21 

Medieval Qabalism 21 

The Renaissance: Hermeticism and Christian Qabalah 23 

Magus to the Queen 25 

Rosicrucianism 25 

Later “Rosicrucians” 26 

Hermetic-Qabalistic Deceptions 27 

Hermetic-Qabalah and The Golden Dawn 28 

The Tree of Life 29 

Concepts 32 

“Secret” Paths 37 

Negative Limitless Light 39 

The Four Worlds 39 

Qabalistic Symbolism 43 

The Sephiroth and Their Symbols 44 

The Minor Cards 47 

The Court Cards 50 


Kether, The Crown 53 

The Aces 56 

Chokmah, Wisdom 60 

The Twos 63 

The Kings 66 

Binah, Understanding 69 

The Threes 71 

The Queens 74 

Daath, Knowledge 77 

Chesed, Mercy 78 

The Fours 80 

Geburah, Strength 83 

The Fives 85 

Tiphareth, Beauty 88 

The Sixes 92 

The Princes 94 

Netzach, Victory 98 

The Sevens 101 

Hod, Splendor 103 

The Eights 106 

Yesod, Foundation 108 

The Nines Ill 

Malkuth, Kingdom 114 

The Tens 117 

The Princesses 120 


Applications of the Sep her Yetzirah 125 

The Matemals: Air, Water, Fire 125 

The Double Letters: Planets, Localities, Days, Gateways, 

Contrasts 128 

The Simple Letters: Signs of the Zodiac 131 

The Cube of Space 131 

Numerology 135 

Sets of Paths 137 

The Initiatory Scheme of the Tarot 140 


JUDGMENT, Shin 149 

THE SUN, Resh 154 

THE MOON, Qoph 158 

THE STAR, Tzaddi 162 

THE TOWER, Peh 166 

THE DEVIL, Ayin 172 

TEMPERANCE, Samekh 176 

DEATH, Nun 181 


JUSTICE, Lamed 190 


THE HERMIT, Yod 201 

STRENGTH, Teth 205 

THE CHARIOT, Cheth 210 

THE LOVERS, Zain 215 



THE EMPRESS, Daleth 230 



THE FOOL, Aleph 245 


Skrying 251 

Divination 252 


Colors on the Tree of Life 263 

Colors and Sounds on the Tree of Life 264 

Angels of the Decans 265 

Divine Names of the Sephiroth 265 

Thirty-Two Paths of Wisdom 266 

NOTES, 267 

INDEX, 279 


Color. Plate I, The Tarot Symbols on the Tree of Life 
Color Plate II, The Tree of Life in a “Solid Sphere” 

Fig. 1 The Ten Holy Sephiroth on the Tree of Life 30 

Fig. 2 Development of the Tree of Life diagram 31 

Fig. 3 The Path of the Flaming Sword 32 

Fig. 4 The Triangles of the Tree of Life 32 

Fig. 5 The Pillars on the Tree of Life 33 

Fig. 6 The Divisions of the Soul 36 

Fig. 7 Attribution of Elements to the Pentagram 37 

Fig. 8 The “Secret Paths” on the Tree of Life 38 

Fig. 9 The Four Worlds 40 

Fig. 10 The Four Elements 42 

Fig. 11 Attribution of the Minor Arcana to the Tree of Life 45 

Fig. 12 The Court Cards on the Tree of Life 46 

Fig. 13 The Signs of the Zodiac in the Twelve Houses 48 

Fig. 14 The Decans 49 

Fig. 15 Attribution of the Minor Cards and the Court 

Cards to the Zodiac 51 

Fig. 16 Attribution of Planets to the Hexagram 90 

Fig. 17 The Symbol of Venus on the Tree of Life 100 

Fig. 18 Attribution of the Major Arcana to the Tree of Life 126 

Fig. 19 Attribution of Maternal 127 

Fig. 20 The Cards on the “Path of the Flaming Sword” 128 

Fig. 21 Planetary attributions to the Tree of Life 130 

Fig. 22 Signs of the Zodiac on the Tree of Life 132 

Fig. 23 The Signs of the Zodiac on the Tree of Life as 

Cardinal, Fixed, and Mutable Elements 133 

Fig. 24 The Cube of Space 134 

Fig. 25 Cards considered as Opposites 137 

Fig. 26 The Cards on the Middle Pillar 138 

Fig. 27 The Paths from the Thirty-Two Paths of Wisdom 139 

Fig. 28 Patterns of Form and Force on the Tree of Life 140 

Mg. 29 Parts of the Soul 142 

Fig. 30 The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil 165 

Fig. 31 Levi’s Interpretation of the Wheel of Ezekiel 196 

Fig. 32 Two Ways of Representing that which is encompassed 

by Mercury 242 


The purpose of this book is to demonstrate the relationship between the 
Qabalah, a time-honored mystical system, and the Tarot. To do so is to 
pointedly disagree with some very great Jewish scholars, who state that no such 
relationship exists. 

What I have attempted to do in this work is to integrate some of the very 
complex threads of Qabalistic symbolism and interpretation, emphasizing the 
relationship of the Tree of Life (primary symbol of the Qabalah) and the Tarot 
as taught in the tradition of the Hermetic Qabalah. I must emphasize that I am 
not writing on the Hebrew Qabalah, but on a separate and distinct system also 
based on Hebrew texts. In my opinion, the Hebrew scholars have been mistaken 
in their perception of late nineteenth century occult developments as merely a 
romantic and misunderstood pastiche of mystical Hebrew lore. 

Moreover, I have attempted to demonstrate that the principles of the 
Qabalah are appropriately applied to any ordinary Tarot deck. To that end this 
work reproduces four entire decks, including the Marseilles Tarot. Very little 
discussion is accorded that work, chosen as a comparison with the more 
symbolically concise modem decks because it is the most common and popular 
of the decks crystallizing the cards’ early imagery. The Marseilles Tarot is a 
“standard” deck, the other three decks used here are those related to the 
nineteenth century occult fraternity, The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. 
Those decks are The Golden Dawn Tarot, The Thoth Tarot and The Rider -Waite 
deck. One other deck, not shown, but which I recommend very strongly, is that 
of the late Paul Case and his organization, The Builders of the Adytum. This is 
a deck to be hand colored by each student. 

Besides this deck, Case produced some exceptionally good Tarot 
literature, to which I have devoted considerable attention. His correspondence 
courses on Tarot, written more than forty years ago, are still being distributed. 
And, since distribution is restricted, I must quickly note that I am in no way 

xvi The Qabalistic Tarot 

associated with that organization, having been provided a complete set of his 
courses by sympathetic friends. 

Case was a brilliant teacher who must be credited as the first to apply 
the terms of modem psychology to the cards, an approach very much like that of 
Carl Jung. I consider Case to be the first great modem scholar on the Tarot, 
unrecognized as such generally because his major works have been available 
only to corresponding students of the Builders of the Adytum, who are asked 
that they be kept confidential. 

I have found his ideas, which have influenced my approach, very 
profound, but with reservations. I question his dogmatic reliance on Gematria 
(Qabalistic numerology), as well as some of his interpretations of Waite’s 
symbolism. Moreover, at the time Case was writing, our psychological language 
was in a state of development, and his courses do not reflect today’s more 
precise terminology. A student must “read between the lines,” considering forty 
years of publications on the occult since Case wrote his courses. A great deal of 
what Case did not say to his corresponding students has been published 
explicitly by Regardie, Butler and others. 

Such criticism does not apply to his small work entitled The Book of 
Tokens, written in 1934. If there is one single book which I would recommend, it 
is that collection of essays on the Hebrew letters. It is a milestone of 
philosophical literature, showing the Tarot to be a key part of the Western 
Mystery Tradition. 

A comment might also be in order here about my frequent reference to 
the works of Aleister Crowley, considered by many to be one of the twentieth 
century’s great fiends, and by others to be the torchbearer of the religion of the 
future. It is very difficult to be objective about Crowley, but in making the 
attempt I have been impressed by the profundity of his writings on the Tarot. 
His work remains instructive despite criticisms which may be leveled against 
his personal behavior. I suspect that history will view Crowley as very much a 
representative of the early twentieth century, a period which espoused the 
aesthetic of the avant garde: What was new and shocking was better, by 
definition, than what was old. This idea actually underlies all of modem art, 
music and literature, not to mention the behavior patterns of the artistic elite of 
London, Paris and New York during the nineteen twenties and thirties. 
Crowley’s behavior fits this pattern, as does the very style of his cards, which is 
essentially Cubist, the most important and avant garde of all styles of modern 
art during his prime. 

It is important to appreciate this conceptual difference, imbedded in the 
Crowley deck versus the others. The Order of the Golden Dawn (1888-1900) was 
created at a period when an idea was revered according to its antiquity. Thus 
the leaders claimed that their Order’s history traced deep into the past of 
mankind, and invoked the monolithic ideological structure of the Gods of Egypt. 
Crowley, on the other hand, says that a new age has arrived (of which he is, not 
coincidentally, the prophet). Old may be good, but new is better. 

I may well be criticized for staying too close to traditional symbolic lines 
in this work, particularly since the climate today is one of rather sweeping re- 

Preface xvii 

organization of symbol systems. A number of books have recently appeared in 
which the traditional placement of Tarot cards on the Tree of Life has been 
radically altered. And, frankly, there are several keys which I might assign 
differently were I starting with no prior conceptions about where the cards 
should be placed. 

But the system, while drawing vitality from gentle modification, does 
not graciously suffer radical overhaul at the hands of any single individual. It 
appears intended to develop slowly, each authority incorporating some socially- 
based alteration, making the discipline of greater value to the contemporary 
society. A system, whether cult, religion or meditative program, is an access 
pattern into the inner worlds, one agreed upon and strengthened by generations 
of use. It is a path into the unknown paved with culturally-determined, though 
universally applicable, symbols. And within any given school, the symbols may 
be manipulated and variously applied. Certainly, I have no quarrel with those 
who have virtually turned the Tree of life upside down with their combinations 
and permutations of ideas. But to do so mitigates the powerful group effort 
called “tradition,” and potentially creates a new Path. Expressed in another 
way: It is the agreement over time on the meaning of a set of symbols which 
makes a system a Path. To this end I have given only those attributions which 
are now commonly accepted. This is not to imply that such attributions are 
immutably correct, rather to suggest that their accepted interlock is of greater 
immediate utility to the student than some of the many divergencies. 

In this regard, Gareth Knight makes a profound observation. In his 
Experience of the Inner Worlds he describes the workings of a group using the 
Tarot cards as psychic doorways. He states that “From a formal Qabalistic 
point of view it was found possible to start any Path working from virtually any 
Tarot trump - which suggests that the sacrosanct and rigid application of Tarot 
correspondences to the Tree of Life is of little real importance .” 1 

Thus, one must always approach these materials with the attitude that 
no matter how specific the system, it is only one means of approaching an inner 
reality. My own style of approach involves building a solid intellectual 
foundation for the ideas of each Tarot card, yet doing so with full understanding 
that every tower of ideas must eventually fall, and a new tower built in its place. 
Each of us builds our own Qabalah, which changes as we learn. What this 
means is that we all begin with the same concepts, which we personalize and 
incorporate into our own systems, so that they take on real meaning. And the 
more we learn, the more we see the original concepts in a different light than 
when we began. 

In attempting to present a basic framework for study, I have tried to 
show how concepts have been derived wherever possible. Most of all this means 
a frequent repetition of the Tree of Life illustration, applying different sets of 
corresponding symbols. To understand the Hermetic Qabalah means to draw 
literally hundreds of Trees of Life, until the myriad interrelationships begin to 
make sense. What I have done here is to provide examples of my own 
manipulation of Qabalistic ideas, i.e., those ideas which when seen graphically, 
have led to special insights. A work such as this can only be a record of its 

xviii The Qabalistic Tarot 

author’s learning process. I must add that this work focuses entirely on the 
philosophy, rather than on the practical exercises involving the Tarot. Those 
exercises, both meditative and ritual, have been so extensively discussed by 
others that there is no need to repeat them here. Of course, I have cited the most 
important books in which these procedures are to be easily found. 

Let me say, finally, that this book has been extremely difficult to write, 
and I doubt that it will be much easier to read, although I have done my best to 
simplify abstract concepts wherever possible. The irony is that the baroque and 
convoluted system of ideas called Qabalah, that impossibly complicated 
intellectual exercise which is the topic of this book, leads to an inner reality of 
such beauty and simplicity that it could be explained to a child. Yet it is the very 
complexity of this exercise of approach that makes the inner simplicity 
meaningful and comprehensible. 

Robert Wang 
Columbia, Maryland 




This is a book of philosophy, of metaphysics, describing a profound system of 
self-exploration imbedded in seventy-eight simple pictures known as the Tarot. 
And while these cards have long been publicly associated with odd cults and 
gypsy fortune tellers, they are increasingly capturing the attention of serious 
students, who view the cards as a repository of a very complex system for the 
development of inner knowledge. 

Perhaps the inventors of the Tarot cards intended that they should be 
understood as a graphic summation of the principles of the Qabalah, or perhaps 
not. At least there is no written evidence to suggest this, and the great Jewish 
scholar of the Qabalah, Gershom Scholem, is probably correct in his assertion 
(however deprecatory) that the connection was made by late nineteenth century 
English and French occultists. One way or the other, the interlock of Tarot and 
Qabalah is so precise that the systems are mutually explanatory. And actually, 
the likelihood that the two systems developed independently gives far greater 
authority to the ideas of both because it points toward their mutual roots in 
universal Truth. 

Yet, a great deal of nonsense has been written about both the Tarot and 
the Qabalah, the sale of a large percentage of occult literature being a tribute to 
the public’s gullibility. Thus, we should be grateful for the scholarly works of the 
past few decades. Scholem pioneered studies on the Jewish Qabalah, while the 
western trends have been admirably researched by scholars such as Frances 
Yates, D.P. Walker, Francis King and Ellic Howe. Serious research is 
increasingly disabusing us of incorrect notions about the roots of modern 

2 The Qabalistic Tarot 

esotericism, and we should not be disturbed to see sand-castles tumbling. If a 
system has inner merit it will remain unscathed. We must also appreciate that 
what is known as The Mysteries has apparently, until very recently, been 
transmitted through a secret oral tradition. 

Despite increased public interest, surprisingly little attention has been 
paid to the Tarot by academia, though the cards are a veritable gold mine of art 
history and metaphysical philosophy. They should be of great interest to any 
medievalist, being clearly of the same temperament which produced the 
sculptural programs of the Gothic cathedrals. It is likely, also, that the cards in 
some way relate to the medieval books of Emblemata and to those delightful, 
and supposedly historical narratives called the Chansons de Gestes. 

What the Tarot represents is an allegorical journey, each card being the 
experience of something (a universal energy) along the way, rather like the 
episodes in Dante’s Divine Comedy, Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress or even 
Tolkein’s Trilogy of the Ring. And the idea of an adventuresome and perilous 
journey through unknown territory was typical of medieval literature. The 
analogy here is that to travel in the middle ages was as dangerous and difficult 
as to travel the inner paths of the Mysteries. So one might agree with the monk 
who in 1377 suggested that the Tarot was a mirror of fourteenth century society, 
saying that the cards represented “. . . the state of the world as it is now most 
excellently described and figured.” 2 Early decks show many of the Virtues and 
Liberal Arts so important to the monographic programs of Gothic Humanism, 
some of which remain in today’s standard Tarot keys: TEMPERANCE is 
Prudence, STRENGTH is Fortitude, JUSTICE remains Justice, etc. All of these 
cards are female, as the Virtues and Liberal Arts were always represented. 3 

Even an Emperor was visible in the real society. That had been 
especially true since 1200, when the Pope crowned Charlemagne Holy Roman 
Emperor in an attempt to strengthen Christianity by aligning it with a great 
secular power. And when we come to THE HIGH PRIESTESS, we find that 
tradition related her to the legend of a “Female Pope,” 4 circulating at just this 
time in history. The evidence for the fourteenth century origin of the cards is 
convincing, and hopefully some historian of medieval art history will pick up 
these fascinating threads and provide us with the real historical answers. 

On the other hand a considerable number of well-trained esotericists 
insist that the cards are of very ancient origin. It is likely that these individuals 
are, through the Tarot, encountering the shadows of other systems which have 
been used to approach the same universal energies. Such differentiation is often 
extremely difficult on the inner plane, which may explain why the experiences 
of so many students contradicts historical evidence. Of course, if the Tarot can 
be of use to us in something so important as the development of inner 
understanding, study of its origins is little more than a pleasant side trip. The 
same is true for the very question of an original link between Qabalah and the 
Tarot, although we are not here proposing that such a link was originally 
intended between Tarot and the Hermetic Qabalah on which this present book 
is based. 

Introduction 3 

That system, developed in Europe from the time of the Renaissance, is a 
westernized Qabalah. It grew from the improbable attempts of fifteenth century 
philosophers to incorporate the essence of Jewish mysticism into Christian 
thought. The history of the modification of these ideas by the philosophers of 
the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries is particularly interesting. 
But it is the nineteenth century developments which are most important for us. 
During that time the Hermetic Qabalah, largely de-Christianized, reached its 
fullest expression with the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. The leaders of 
that fraternity performed the remarkable task of unifying the disparate 
elements of the Western Mystery Tradition (Qabalah, Hermeticism, Astrology, 
Neo-Platonism, Dee’s Enochian Magic, etc.) in such a way that it formed a 
coherent method of inner exploration for the fin de si&cle temperament. There 
are few modem schools of western esoteric thought which have not been 
affected in some way by the developments of that group. And as one discusses 
Hermetic Qabalism, one of necessity refers to the Golden Dawn as its primary 
modem expression. Hermetic Qabalah and Golden Dawn must be considered 
virtually synonymous. 

Nor is it significant whether the esoteric tenets of this group were 
handed down secretly for generations, or if they were meticulously culled from 
ancient manuscripts in the British Museum. The authority of any group derives 
entirely from its inner contacts. The “Secret Tradition,” “The Mysteries,” or 
whatever this may be called, can be tapped into by anyone. An individual or 
group becomes a part of an ancient tradition by contacting inner teachers in 
that tradition, and it would certainly appear that the decks used to illustrate 
this book are the result of such inner contact. 

The three key decks of the modem era were all produced by members of 
that fraternity: The Golden Dawn Tarot (designed by MacGregor Mathers), The 
Rider -Waite Deck, designed by A.E. Waite, and the Thoth Tarot designed by 
Aleister Crowley. A fourth major deck, already mentioned, is that of Paul Case 
for the BOTA. His version is an excellent correction of that issued by Waite. 

The Waite deck, one of the most popular ever published, seems to have 
been designed with such concern for oaths of membership in the Order that it 
remains entirely exoteric. It is included in the hope that those who may have 
chosen to study the deck may find its (often admirable, occasionally unaccep- 
table) symbolism more useful when considered from the standpoint of the 
Hermetic Qabalah. 

The Golden Dawn Tarot is an esoteric deck, intended for the private use 
of members of the Order. Crowley’s deck is also esoteric, in that it conceals the 
nineteenth century Order’s symbolism. Certainly, Crowley’s Thoth Tarot is the 
most original recent contribution to Tarot studies. 

Unfortunately neither Crowley nor Mathers has received appropriate 
credit for their work with the Tarot. And because of their occasionally 
outrageous behavior, both men have been fair game for social historians. 
Moreover, their scholarly limitations have made them the butt of jokes by 
meticulous researchers on the Hebrew Qabalah. But a study of any Mystery 

4 The Qabalistic Tarot 

Tradition, unless it be purely historical, requires that preconceived notions be 
set aside, and that the system be judged solely on the merit of its efficacy. One 
must use the word efficacy because that is the only valid measure of a 
metaphysical system. Does it work? But how do we establish whether it works 
or not? The answer to these questions is certainly not to be found through the 
present methods of the sciences, or of the humanities, which are predicated on 
those of science; data is collected and analyzed empirically. And since those 
ideas known as “The Mysteries” do not lend themselves to this sort of attack, 
being in high degree irrational, they may be denigrated even by historians. 
Many knowledgeable scholars perceive late nineteenth century Hermetic 
Qabalism as only a romantic and fanciful offshoot of Hebrew Qabalism, 
unworthy of the sort of research devoted to esoteric Judaism. And the social 
toning of the materials as “occult” adds to the wall of preconceptions and 

The problem arises in that to study any aspect of the Mysteries the 
investigator must himself become a part of the system. He must evaluate it from 
the inside, which may make it appear that he has abrogated investigative 
objectivity. Today’s academicism does not allow for the acquisition of knowl- 
edge through intuition and psychism, an attitude placing it in paradoxical 
contradiction to a high proportion of those great thinkers whom the Humanities 
study and purport to revere. In the Humanities, the universities have 
deteriorated into observers of, rather than participants in, the development of 
man’s creative and intellectual faculties. 

A more serious problem, in terms of the cautious dissemination of occult 
ideas, is that any proofs which may emerge are valid only for the investigator 
himself. Carl Jung expressed this by stating that “only the psyche can know the 

The fact is, however, that those who travel the inner paths (using any 
given system) have parallel experiences. The encounter of, for example, the 
energies symbolized by THE UNIVERSE card, theoretically produces the same 
basic experience for everyone. It should be quickly added, however, that through 
what is known as the astral level of consciousness, one functions within the 
confines of a cultus. A Catholic mystic will learn the same lessons through the 
symbolism of Christianity that a Qabalist learns through the symbolism of the 
Tree of Life. The universal energies are actually formless, yet we perceive them 
in the guise of our chosen system. 

It is at the level of the Christ-Buddha-Krishna Intelligence that the unity 
of all systems becomes apparent, and we are freed into pure consciousness. 
Thus, in these terms, one may appreciate that when the question is asked, “Does 
the system work?” it means: Is the symbolic structure of the system representa- 
tive of universal truths sufficient to carry one beyond the system itself? In the 
case of the Hermetic Qabalah and its practical tool, the Tarot, there can be no 
doubt. This is an extremely potent system, particularly in that it may be 
incorporated into any system or religion in which the student chooses to 
function. Of course, no one is asked to accept this statement on face value. 
Blind acceptance of anything whatsoever is contrary to the Qabalistic method. 

Introduction 5 


The chances are good that most readers of this book are disillusioned 
with both organized religion and science. Neither seems to provide the insight 
into our human condition demanded by an increased and world-wide sophisti- 
cation. We have learned so much through the wonders of technology and 
modem communications, that the explanations of our fathers appear more 
placebo than panacea. 

Many of those so disillusioned turn to occultism and mysticism in the 
hope of finding broader meaning and truth. They do so in the essential belief 
that direct knowledge of the Cosmic Order, enlightenment, is possible. 

The Mystery schools teach that what we can see, touch and feel presents 
us with only a relative reality. Beyond that which is considered “real” by most 
people are worlds of an even greater reality, which every individual has the 
capacity to explore. Enlightenment means emergence from the darkness of our 
limited sense-perceptions and thought framework into a consciousness of the 
greater reality. It is of that from which we are bom, and into this that we shall 
return at the end of our brief life cycle. 

The Qabalah is a system once traditionally claimed (prior to the work of 
Scholem) to have been given to Adam by God, to have been the province of a few 
chosen adepts until it became “Hellenized” by the Greeks and began to form a 
sub-current of western civilization. The value of the system is that it divides the 
Universe into specific categories, allowing for the establishment of correspon- 
dences between all cults and religions. The Tarot cards, also, may be equated 
with the major aspects of most religious systems. 

Esoteric tradition, as represented by the Tarot, makes some very basic 
statements about man and the nature of the Universe which is his ultimate 
environment. It says that there is a perfect order which one has the capacity to 
perceive, and that there is no such thing as an accident. For every movement of 
every leaf on every tree there is a reason, and every movement of every thing is 
inter-related. Separateness is a myth. We are all part of one great unity. 

These principles have been expressed for thousands of years, and in 
thousands of ways. And somehow, as expressed, they are always so simple. The 
concept that All is One, and we are All has a certain poetry to it. It may strike a 
deep-rooted chord and then be quickly forgotten. But there is a feeling that the 
statement has merit. The words of prophets may imbue us with a strange and 
momentary silence, as if our minds are straining to recall something. 

Students may respond in this way to a small book from 1912, called The 
Kybalion. This work involves all of the key principles of Tarot, and purports to 
sum up ancient Hermeticism. The ideas here are actually the same sorts of 
Gnostic thought that produced the Qabalah. Hermeticism and Qabalah both 
date from the period of earliest Christianity. When we describe the Hermetic- 
Qabalah we mean the later amalgam of the principles of both. 

The Kybalion gives seven Hermetic Principles. 5 These are, quite 
literally, a distillation of the universal principles on which the Tarot is based, 
and deserve to be the subject of every student’s meditation. 

6 The Qabalistic Tarot 

They are: 

1. The Principle of Mentalism 

“The ALL is MIND; The Universe is Mental.” 

2. The Principal of Correspondence 

“As Above, so below; as below, so above.” 

3. The Principle of Vibration 

“Nothing rests; everything moves everything vibrates.” 

4. The Principle of Polarity 

“Everything is Dual; everything has poles; everything has its pair 
of opposites; like and unlike are the same; opposites are identical in 
nature, but different in degree; extremes meet; all truths are but 
half-truths; all paradoxes may be reconciled.” 

5. The Principle of Rhythm 

“Everything flows, out and in; everything has its tides; all things 
rise and fall; the pendulum-swing manifests in everything; the 
measure of the swing to the right is the measure of the swing to the 
left; rhythm compensates.” 

6. The Principle of Cause and Effect 

“Every Cause has its Effect; every Effect has its Cause; everything 
happens according to Law; chance is but a name for Law not 
recognized; there are many planes of causation, but nothing 
escapes the Law.” 

7. The Principle of Gender 

“Gender is in everything; everything has its Masculine and its 
Feminine Principles; gender manifests on all planes.” 

The doctrine that our universe is so precisely ordered is basic to the 
Tarot, as is the idea that the Tarot images accurately symbolize the very 
framework of the Universe. As MacGregor Mathers stated: “I have not only 
transcribed the symbolism, but have tested, studied, compared and examined it 
both clairvoyantly and in other ways. The result has been to show me how 
absolutely correct the symbolism of the Book T [meaning Tarot] is, and how 
exactly it represents the occult forces of the universe.” 6 

Eliphas L6vi described the Tarot in even more flamboyant terms: “. . . 
although it is popular in a sense and may be found everywhere, this is of all 
most occult and unknown, because it is the key to the rest. . . It is, in truth, a 
monumental and extraordinary work, strong and simple as the architecture of 
the pyramids, and consequently enduring like those- a book which is a 
summary of all sciences, which can resolve all problems by its infinite 
combinations, which speaks by evoking thought, it is an inspirer and moderator 
of all possible conceptions, and the masterpiece perhaps of the human mind. It 
is to be counted unquestionably among the great gifts bequeathed to us by 
antiquity.” 7 L6vi was among the first to declare publicly that the Tarot was 
more than merely a quaint device for telling fortunes, and that it was virtually 
the key to all occult science. 

Introduction 7 

Clearly, for one to take this approach to the Tarot requires a consider- 
able amount of faith. But this should be a faith which is understood to represent 
merely a suspension of judgement. One who fails to exercise rational judgment, 
or who accepts any esoteric principle unquestioningly, is a poor candidate for 
inner development. We must engage our every capacity, and the capacity to 
reason is our greatest protection against being led astray in these matters. One 
might also suggest that the methods of the Hermetic Qabalah will be 
particularly attractive to those who are natively intellectual, artistic, or both. 
These methods are not for everyone, and to study them efficiently requires a 
significant commitment. The pursuit of any specific method of spiritual 
development represents a choice. And herein lies another important principle. 
This principle is frequently encountered in popular literature, couched in 
aphoristic terms such as “We are masters of our own destiny,” or “The Stars 
impell, they do not compel.” We are, in fact, the authors of our every experience, 
from the non-accident of our birth and the parents whom we choose, to the very 
time and circumstances of our death. Some of the inspired religious literature of 
the west hints at this idea. It is a principle which has been stated openly and 
explicitly in eastern religions for thousands of years. 

This is not an easy concept to accept, because it lays full credit or blame 
for all that occurs in our lives squarely on our own shoulders. But this does not 
imply that we are necessarily aware of the decision making process. That is the 
province of the Higher Self, that spiritual part of ourselves which endures, while 
the personalities molded for each successive incarnation dissipate and cease to 
be (save as they represent experience assimilated by the Higher Self). The 
pursuit of enlightenment is the pursuit of the “Knowledge and Conversation of 
the Holy Guardian Angel,” aspect of the Higher Self. This means the 
development of a conscious awareness of, and contact with, an innermost 
spiritual nature which is the essence of God. The goal is a lofty one. The decision 
to pursue it seriously, as well as the means of pursuit, pivotal choices. And here 
one must not lose sight of the fact that whatever the chosen path, whether that 
be Tarot or Yoga or Catholic mysticism, it is a means of self-exploration, and 
not an end in itself. Yet as Jung points out, some people try to escape into a 

People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid 
facing their own souls. They will practice Indian Yoga in all its 
exercises, observe a strict regimen of diet, learn theosophy by heart, 
or mechanically repeat mystic texts from the literature of the whole 
world — all because they cannot get on with themselves and have 
not the slightest faith that anything useful could ever come out of 
their own souls . 8 

It is a sad fact that many disturbed people are attracted to all forms of 
occult work. These are people who look for an escape, but do not find it. An 
unbalanced personality, unable to cope with its own earthly environment, will 

8 The Qabalistic Tarot 

find little solace in the Tarot or in any other facet of the Mysteries. Instead, such 
persons may find esoteric research very disconcerting, as they discover 
themselves required to face aspects of their personalities with which they 
cannot cope, or increasingly immersed in their own fantasies and losing touch 
with reality. The dawning awareness of the truth of the Universal Order is 
difficult for the most balanced personality, because it involves concepts that 
totally refute what most people believe themselves to be. There is a cause and 
effect here, which is the reason that so many esoteric works include a warning. 
Anyone can learn to manipulate the Kundalini forces of their own body, and 
open the channels by which Light descends. The methods are basically very 
simple, and are openly described in works such as Regardie’s Middle Pillar and 
his Foundations of Practical Magic . 9 Yet if the basic preparatory work has been 
ignored, or done casually, the result may be a systemic imbalance, rather than 
balance and increased vitality and awareness. These dangers are one reason 
that the Mysteries maintained strict secrecy for so many centuries. 

Tradition states that the Mysteries maintained secrecy as a matter of 
keeping sacred ideas from the profane, although we appreciate that in some 
ages past secrecy has also kept the metaphysician from being burned at the 
stake. But those who have been the guardians of the orally-transmitted Mystery 
Tradition over the centuries, have also understood the responsibility of 
conveying practical techniques to those who might misunderstand or misapply 
the principles of their use . 10 

Even today one could argue reasonably that the practical esoteric 
techniques should be kept secret, although so much has now been published 
that the point is purely moot. And the fact is that there are no real “secrets,” as 
most people understand the word. Herein lies the crux of all occultism, 
mysticism and esoteric religion. In fact, one important “secret” is so simple that 
it can be conveyed in a single paragraph: 

What is called enlightenment depends on the physical opening of 
channels so that the consciousness of the personality can directly contact the 
consciousness of the greater universe. What this means is a manipulation of 
vibrations within the body and a subtle change in physiochemistry. It is all a 
form of yoga, where one experiences what feels like an electromagnetic current 
in the body. Everyone has felt this current and anyone can learn to manipulate 
it. Moreover, this has nothing whatsoever to do with the school of mysticism or 
occultism in which one operates. The directive “Inflame thyself with prayer 
meaning to excite the inner currents of the body, is the practical essence of 
Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and every legitimate form of 
mystery religion or cult. To the technique of manipulation of body energies, the 
Hermetic Qabalah adds a program of inner visualization. One begins by 
imagining an inner scene, a tightly created and directed daydream. Soon, 
however, one discovers that what is happening is not his own invention. 

The Tarot is, of course, ideal for this kind of visualization, known as 
Path Working or Rising on the Planes. To focus on any given Key is to turn 
attention to a specific intelligent energy as anthropomorphized in a card. This 
very focus of attention tends to affect an unconscious link with the energy 

Introduction 9 

which the card symbolizes. This is not to suggest, however, that the Tarot offers 
any shortcuts, for it does not. One who chooses to study the Tarot by the 
Qabalistic method must do so with discretion, sensitivity, completeness and 
acceptance of a certain disciplined boredom until positive results are obtained, 
which may take years. Those who make the system work do so by disciplined 
attention to meditative exercises, without concern for result. 

But results do come, and one begins to perceive the entire system very 
differently, appreciating the fluidity with which the cards must be interpreted. 
A Key may have several possible interpretations (some even apparently 
contradictory), particularly when it represents a Path on the upper levels of the 
Tree of Life. Thus, the values inherent in a card can never be attributed to a few 
catch phrases easily memorized. 

Aleister Crowley, in his Book of Thoth makes the point that what he can 
say about a card may either represent a small part of its meaning, or may not 
necessarily appear to make sense. Often, in that work, Crowley finds a card so 
profound that he must resort to the word symbols of poetry to approach its most 
serious implications. 

He was also uniquely honest in his assertion, published in the 
Confessions of Aleister Crowley, that he did not completely understand all of 
the cards. He wrote: 

The true significance of the Atus of Tahuti, or Tarot Trumps, also 
awaits full understanding. I have satisfied myself that these 
twenty-two cards compose a complete system of hieroglyphs, 
representing the total energies of the universe. In the case of some 
cards [presumably referring to his own deck] I have succeeded in 
restoring the original form and giving a complete account of their 
meaning. Others, however, I understand imperfectly, and of some 
few I have at present obtained no more than a general idea . 11 

Certainly, the Tarot offers us great potential for self-deception. We can 
believe we have understood some aspect of the study, yet still be working within 
a very personal and distorted framework. For this reason, it is best to refer, at 
every step of the learning experience, to the time honored documents on the 
subject. For the Tarot, this means the Sepher Yetzirah, a very brief work by 
which we relate the Hebrew letters to the Tarot Keys. Another great work is the 
source book of the Jewish Qabalah, The Zohar, a mystical commentary in many 
volumes which has never been fully translated into a European language. 

The greatest Qabalistic work of all is the Pentateuch of Moses, the first 
five books of the Bible. The study of the first four books, in Hebrew, and on the 
basis of numerology, is the essence of Jewish Qabalah. 

On the surface all of this may seem unapproachably complex. But the 
intellectual Qabalah, as opposed to the practical work, is easily understood by 
anyone willing to consider it with the intensity and diligence that one would 
apply to the learning of a new language. 

10 The Qabalistic Tarot 

The Qabalah is essentially artificial. It is a defining pattern imposed on 
qualities which would otherwise be too impossibly fluid to grasp. By example, 
one could cite the idea of periodization in history. There is, obviously, no line of 
demarcation between the centuries. But to place blocks of ideas and social styles 
within the brackets arbitrarily established as the eighteenth, nineteenth or 
twentieth centuries is useful. 


It is no coincidence that the three most important Tarot decks of the 
modem era, those of Waite, Crowley and the Golden Dawn, were produced by 
members of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. That fraternity, the 
intellectual heir of the Renaissance Qabalists and Baroque Rosicrucians, placed 
greater emphasis on the Tarot than any other group whose activities have yet 
been made public. Their attitude that the Tarot synthesizes the principles of the 
Hermetic Qabalah has been pivotal to modem esoteric studies. 

The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, particularly insofar as it 
represented a social phenomenon, is best viewed against the backdrop of its own 

London today is a sprawling and sophisticated metropolis, a center for 
international trade and communications. Even the traditional reserve of the 
English themselves does not serve to mask the vitality and rapidity of life there. 
London of the 1890’s was more tranquil and picturesque. One imagines streets 
lined with trees and quaint shops, horse drawn carriages moving leisurely 
across cobblestoned streets carrying ladies in long gowns and gentlemen in top 
hats. The tranquil quality of some of London’s streets however, was in sharp 
contrast to the squalor of the same city’s slums, or to the factory areas of the 
emerging industrial nation ruled by Queen Victoria. This was a time and place 
of great polarities. 

This was the society which acted as a crucible for the ideas of the 
modem Hermetic Qabalah, a society very different in tone and quality from 
that which we know today. The Order of the Golden Dawn emerged during one 
of the most interesting periods of modem history, the Fin de Si6cle, La Belle 
Epoque. It was a time when people were beginning to assess and place in 
perspective a great deal of knowledge gained in previous decades. 

Many historians view the extraordinary interest in occultism at that 
time as a reaction against industrialization and its concomitant materialism. 
There was definitely a fear in some quarters that machine technology might 
overwhelm and destroy individuality. Others tend to view the interest in 
esoteric matters as the result of politically-based contact with eastern ideas, 
relating to England’s involvement in India and the subsequent birth of 
Theosophy. Yet, however one may choose to assess the development of 
occultism in the late nineteenth century, like the other threads of the social 
fabric, it represented the fruit of generations of exploration. The same may be 
said, at this time, for the sciences, for politics, for industry, and for all phases of 
the arts. Expressed in another way, there was more change in human lifestyle 

Introduction 1 1 

and philosophy at the turn of this century than at any other time in history. It 
was overwhelming, it was rapid, but it did not happen overnight. An analogy 
could be made with a balloon that fills with air slowly, but bursts suddenly. The 
Golden Dawn was a bursting forth of pressure that had begun to build in the 
Qabalistic philosophies of the Renaissance. 

Those who criticize the Golden Dawn for its theatricality should 
appreciate that it emerged from much the same social forces which were 
producing the modern theatre, to say nothing of modem literature, modem art 
and modem music. This was the age of Ibsen, of Stravinsky, of Henri Bergson 
(Mrs. Mathers’ brother), of William Morris, of Oscar Wilde, of Rimbaud and 
Verlaine, of Van Gogh and Gauguin. 

It is in this light that the Order is best understood. What the Order did, 
essentially, was to collect, focus and expand upon all of the previous experience 
of the Western Mystery Tradition. The elements of the Hermetic Qabalah were 
very different after undergoing the refinements and critical definitions of the 
Golden Dawn. 

It was in 1888 that the Order was founded under the joint leadership of 
William Wynn Westcott, S.L. MacGregor Mathers and W.R. Woodman. Its 
authority, as well as its claim to have descended from Christian Rosencreutz 
(father of Rosicrucianism) was based on a mysterious set of “Cypher Manu- 
scripts” which came into Westcott’s hands in 1887. 

The story is very complicated, and made even more so by the likelihood 
that at least some of the materials issued to the members by Mathers, et al., and 
claimed by them to be of great antiquity, were their own invention. 12 

The “Ancient Cypher Manuscripts” were (suspiciously) in English, 
translated into a very simple cypher-for-letter code invented by the Abbot 
Trithemius (patron of Agrippa) in the sixteenth century. These pages outline the 
rituals and grade structure of an occult fraternity, and supposedly originated in 
Germany. And while there is a serious question about the authenticity of these 
documents, they were definitely written by one with a profound knowledge of 
occult tradition. 

It was, at any event, on the basis of this claimed authority that members 
were solicited for the new order. They came from a wide range of pursuits and 
included, by 1890, William Butler Yeats, Annie Homiman and the actress 
Florence Farr. A.E. Waite was a member of the group for somewhat more than a 
year. Later he rejoined but eventually wrote disparagingly of his experiences 
with the fraternity. 

It was in 1892 that Mathers became sole Chief, and the Second, or Inner 
Order (offering the grade of Adeptus Minor) was established. Mathers was a 
skillful organizer, though perhaps addicted to small deceits aimed at agrandi- 
zing his own image, or adding to the lustre of the Order in the eyes of its 
members. Serious problems began to appear in 1895, stemming largely from 
Mathers’ autocratic leadership. While Mathers claimed to be in contact with 
three “Secret Chiefs,” unseen Masters who guided the course of the Order, the 
members had become increasingly reluctant to accept Mathers’ statements on 

12 The Qabalistic Tarot 

Aleister Crowley joined the Order in November of 1898 and was soon 
apprenticed to the legendary Alan Bennett. He also earned the respect of 
Mathers for his intelligence and talent for esoteric work. But the same qualities 
of investigative independence, albeit genius, which so attracted Bennett and 
Mathers, tended to be viewed as abrasive by other members. In 1899, after 
MacGregor and Moina Mathers had moved to Paris to establish a continental 
branch of the Order, the leaders of the London Temple decided to reject 
Crowley’s application for membership in the Second Order. That decision led 
ultimately to the final disintegration of the Order as it had been originally. 

In Paris, Mathers conferred the Adeptus Minor degree on Crowley. But 
this incurred the wrath of the London members, who refused to accept the 
initiation as valid, and voted to expel Mathers himself from the Order. 
Undaunted, Mathers proceeded to found a new group. Others, including 
Crowley, eventually did the same, each claiming that his fraternity was 
authentic, and in contact with the Secret Chiefs. 

Thus, the teaching of the Order was disseminated around the world, as 
splinter groups formed in England, America and other countries. The methods 
of the Order became public knowledge between the years 1937 and 1940 when 
Israel Regardie’s four volume Golden Dawn appeared. 13 This work contains 
all of the Order’s significant lectures and rituals, as well as a very thorough 
explanation of their underlying principles. 


There is only one known, published, reference to the origin of the Golden 
Dawn Tarot. This appears in the 1945 autobiography of Irish artist and poet, 
Ella Young. In the book, Flowering Dusk she describes a visit to the home of the 
Mathers, having been brought there by Maud Gonne, a member of the Order. 
Maud Gonne had herself been brought into the group by William Butler Yeats, 
who courted her unsuccessfully for many years. 

Ella Young describes having been attracted to some large illustrations 
of Egyptian Gods executed in paper mosaic, and claimed by MacGregor 
Mathers to have been done by him in one night. 

When we are in the quiet street again, I say to Maud Gonne, “How 
can he expect us to believe that he did those mosaics in one night?” 

“I think it quite likely that he did.” 

“But— to cut those strips of paper, sort the colours, glue them into 
position: to say nothing of designing and drawing the figures - it 
seems to be impossible!” 

“He can do things like that. One time he made up his mind that the 
society should have Tarot cards. At headquarters he took a packet 
of white cards, asked a member to mark them, went into an inner 
room for a little while, and came out with those marked cards. The 
Tarot signs were painted on them. The cards used by the society are 

Introduction 13 

copied from the pack.” I had seen those cards. To produce them at 
short notice “while you wait” was a feat equaling the mosaics. 14 

It appears that a finished deck was painted by Mrs. Mathers, a very 
accomplished artist. Her deck was subsequently lent to members of the Inner 
Order who were required to copy it by hand. This was the procedure followed by 
the late Golden Dawn lodge to which Israel Regardie belonged, the Stella 
Matutina, although at the time preparation of a Tarot deck was optional. 

Photographs of Regardie’s deck (the original having been stolen) were 
the basis of the Golden Dawn Tarot, painted by Robert Wang under Regardie’s 
direction, and published in 1978. 


In 1910 Arthur Edward Waite and the artist Pamela Colman Smith 
produced what has become the most popular Tarot deck in history, generally 
called the Rider Deck after his publisher, William Rider & Son. The production 
of this deck is discussed by Waite in his autobiography, Shadows of Life and 

The Secret Tradition in Goetia was my first considerable work 
bearing the Rider imprint, but it was preceded in 1910 by a 
delightful experiment with the so-called Tarot Divinatory Cards, 
otherwise denominated the Book of Thoth in the high fantasia of 
my old friend Eliphas L6vi. Now, in those days there was a most 
imaginative and abnormally psychic artist, named Pamela Col- 
man Smith, who had drifted into the Golden Dawn and loved its 
Ceremonies -as transformed by myself- without pretending or 
indeed attempting to understand their sub-surface consequence. It 
seemed to some of us in the circle that there was a draughtsman 
among us who, under proper guidance, could produce a Tarot with 
an appeal in the world of art and a suggestion of significance 
beyond the Symbols which would put on them another construction 
than had ever been dreamed by those who, through many 
generations, had produced and used them for mere divinatory 
purposes. My province was to see that the designs— especially those 
of the important Trumps Major— kept that in the hiddenness 
which belonged to certain Greater Mysteries, in the Paths of which 
I was travelling. I am not of course intimating that the Golden 
Dawn had at that time any deep understanding by inheritance of 
Tarot cards; but, if I may so say, it was getting to know under my 
auspices that their Symbols— or some at least among them— were 
gates which opened on realms of vision beyond occult dreams. I 
saw to it therefore that Pamela Colman Smith should not be 
picking up casually any floating images from my own or another 

14 The Qabalistic Tarot 

mind. She had to be spoon-fed carefully over the Priestess Card, 
over that which is called the Fool and over the Hanged Man. 

... If anyone feels drawn in these days to the serious consideration 
of Tarot Symbolism they will do well to select the codex of coloured 
cards produced under my supervision by Miss Pamela Colman 
Smith. 15 

Imbedded here are two ideas which may help to explain Waite’s early 
estrangement from the Order of the Golden Dawn. He suggests that he not only 
“transformed” the Golden Dawn ceremonies, but that it was he who introduced 
the members to the real meaning of Tarot. 

Such pronouncements made him few friends, and stimulated Aleister 
Crowley to publish some very vitriolic comments. One article in The Equinox 
was a tongue-in-cheek obituary of the still very much alive Waite, complete with 
heavy black borders on every page. The title of the article was “Dead Weight.” It 
began: “It is with the deepest feeling that we record the passing over of. . .the aged 
saint known on earth as Arthur Edward Waite.” The article continues with a 
mock life story. “The career of Arthur Edward Waite was largely determined by 
his father’s fine perception. ‘Ned, my lad,’ said he when the future saint was 
barely six years of age, ‘brains are not your long suit, I can see. But it doesn’t 
matter. If you can’t be wise, look wise!’ ” 16 

Crowley was a bitter adversary, a thorn in Waite’s side for decades. But 
Waite may actually have had the last laugh, for in his lengthy autobiography, 
he has not mentioned the name of Crowley even once. 


The Crowley deck has had a long and complex history. Not only did it 
take Lady Frieda Harris five years to paint the cards, but the completed work 
remained unpublished for twenty-five years. 

The first (and little known) printing was done privately by Carr Collins 
and his Texas based Sangreal Foundation. This was a very poor printing, in one 
color. It was not until 1969 that an American publisher of occult books arranged 
for the first color edition, the actual printing being done in Hong Kong. 
Undoubtedly, Lady Harris, who had insisted that only the English printer of 
government postage stamps would be allowed to produce the deck, would have 
been very disappointed (if not sickened) by these editions. 

In 1979 the cards were finally published in an edition conforming to the 
highest standards of reproduction. Yet it was not without serious obstacles that 
the cards appeared. In the interim between the Sangreal and the corrected 
edition, the curator of the collection of Crowley documents housed at the 
Courtauld Institute in London, refused to allow the original paintings to be 
photographed. The large collection of Crowleyana, donated to the Courtauld by 
Gerald Yorke, had been the object of numerous thefts and the museum was 
becoming increasingly cautious about allowing access to these materials. It was 

Introduction 15 

more than two years after negotiations began between Weiser’s and the 
Courtauld, that the expertly produced Thoth Tarot finally appeared. 

The project of painting the cards was begun in 1938, and was completed 
in 1943, as Lady Harris described in a lecture to the Tomorrow Club which 
remains the only public statement of her role in developing the deck: 

In despair of arriving at any lucidity I will tell you how it happened 
that I painted these cards. I was interested in the Tarot after 
reading Ouspensky’s book, The Model of the Universe. I could find 
very little information or research about it until I met A.C. He had 
studied the cards seriously for 40 years. . . I asked him to help me 
and with great patience and courtesy he did so and we tottered 
along for 5 years wrestling with the accumulated mass of tradition 
emanating from sources such as Freemasons, Alchemists, Rosi- 
crucians, Kabalists, Magicians, Geometricians, Gematricians, 
Mathematicians, Symbolists, Diviners, Numerologists, Druids, 
Spiritualists, Psychologists, Philologists, Budhists [sic], Togas, 
Psychoanalysts, Astrologers, even Heraldry, all of whom have left 
traces on the symbols employed. From these multitudes, we 
endeavoured to reinstate the cards in their original sacred, simple 
forms and, in addition, indicate the New Aeon of Horus, a 
terrifying apparition. 

. . . The cards push me off my feet and I get into a train of thought 
that can only be expressed in gasps and hiccups. . . I have never 
tried to paint them with the help of automatic writing, trances, 
seances, mediums, autosuggestions, drugs, absent treatment, Yoga, 
meditation, mysterious masters or any other emotional approach of 

They are the result of hard work, honest investigation and 
common sense, which I believe are the true magics and were done 
in the open air and sunshine of the country. 17 

Lady Harris’s comments reflect the deep inner exploration necessary to 
produce an occult work of this magnitude. Indeed, any artist who has painted 
an entire Tarot deck would agree with one of her more frustrated comments: 
“Sometimes when I am sufficiently crushed by all these meanings I say in the 
words of Alice in Wonderland ‘Who cares for you. You’re nothing but a pack of 
cards.’ ” 18 


The Golden Dawn, Waite, and Crowley decks are agreed in their 
conceptual dependance on the principles of Book T, a set of Tarot papers issued 
to members of the inner lodge of the Order of the Golden Dawn. The principal 
suggestion of the papers is that the key to the Tarot is the Qabalah and the Tree 

16 The Qabalistic Tarot 

of life. Certainly, without some basic knowledge of the symbols of the Qabalah 
the modem decks illustrated here would be incomprehensible. One must also 
know the Hebrew alphabet, since in its use for esoteric studies, each Hebrew 
letter is a symbol, embodying a block of concepts. All that is implied by the 
symbolic picture of THE FOOL is also implied by the Hebrew letter Aleph. It is 
one of the peculiarities of the Mysteries that many aspects of the study are so 
profound that one symbol can be explained only in terms of another, and a 
student buys into the circle with the symbol which he best understands. 

Book T, a complex presentation of Tarot symbols, elaborates a formula 
originally given in the Cypher Manuscripts. This includes the order of Trumps 
and the relationship of the Trumps to Hebrew letters. Most significant is the 
extraordinary reverence accorded the Tarot. It was to be understood that Book 
T, the Tarot, is the secret key not only to the Hermetic Qabalah, but to all of 
western esotericism. 

The Book begins : 19 



Set over the operations of the Secret Wisdom. 

“What thou seest write in a Book, and send it unto the Seven 
Abodes that are in Assiah.” 

“And I saw in the right hand of Him that sat upon the 
Throne a book sealed with Seven Seals.” “And I saw a strong 
Angel proclaiming with a loud voice. ‘Who is worthy to open 
the Books and to loose the seals thereof?’ ” 

The passage with which Book T is prefaced certainly represents the 
attitude of the Order toward its Tarot deck. The lines are from The Revelation of 
Saint John the Divine, chapter five. The Saint, having risen into the Celestial 
Realm, is shown a scroll, and is told that none on the earth is worthy to open it. 
The Lamb of God, however, having sacrificed his blood for mankind is deemed 

The suggestion is that the Tarot is the book spoken of in Revelation, and 
is the key to the universe. Of course, it is not the Tarot deck, per se, that 
constitutes what is called Book T. The implication, rather, is that the key to the 
Cosmos is our perception of the underlying pattern of which the Tarot deck is 
an external symbol. 

But this “Book,” or set of universal patterns, is open to no man of this 
Earth. It can be opened only by the Lamb of God, who is Christ-Buddha-Osiris 
in this context. Only those who have been initiated into the Christ-center of the 
Qabalah ( Tiphareth ) can fully understand the Tarot. Here the initiation of 
Tiphareth may be understood as a “sacrifice of man’s blood” in that it involves 
a losing of the personality-self as it has been previously known. 

Moreover, we find that it is the Book T described in the Rosicrucian 
documents as having been found in the hand of Christian Rosencreutz when his 

Introduction 17 

body was discovered perfectly preserved in the Vault. The Order of the Golden 
Dawn claimed a direct line of descent from Rosencreutz, and apparently wanted 
to suggest that they were in possession of the greatest secret of the original 
Rosicrucians. One must therefore conclude that the Order viewed the Tarot as 
the symbolic receptable of its primary and most secret teaching. 

The member received information on Tarot (as well as almost every- 
thing else of importance) after having passed through the initiation for the 
grade of Adeptus Minor. This grade related to Tiphareth, the center of Christ 
and other sacrificed Gods. Thus, it was not until the member assumed the 
nature of the Lamb of God (even being symbolically crucified in the ritual) that 
he was deemed worthy of opening the seals on the Scroll of Revelation, Book T, 
The Tarot, or whatever the patterns of the Cosmos might be called. What is 
important is not the books themselves, but our ability to read them. That is the 
breaking of the seals. 

The Qabalah 

As understood today, the word Qabalah means a tradition or that which is 
received. It also means a very specific system of metaphysics. Butin the ancient 
world “Qabalah” had a more general meaning, that of The Law. It could mean 
an oral law or it could be the law of Moses in the first five books of the Bible, The 
Torah (called the Pentateuch in Greek). It was not until the twelfth century that 
the term assumed today’s precise meaning . 20 

There are two separate schools of Qabalah, that of Judaism and that 
which is the product of Italian Renaissance thought, termed the Hermetic 
Qabalah. A difficulty may arise here in that in any form of Qabalism God 
names are those of the Old Testament, Hebrew is the essential language and the 
primary texts are those of the Jewish tradition. Nevertheless, while Jewish and 
Hermetic Qabalah refer to the same literary sources, there are striking 
differences in both textual interpretation and practical work. 

The most significant difference has to do with pictorial representation. 
Mosaic law forbids showing the human form: “It is likewise forbidden to draw a 
picture of a man, even only the face of a man. . . However, only a full face is 
forbidden, that is, when it has two eyes and a nose, but a profile is not 
forbidden .” 21 Idolatry of any sort was a sacrilege, which may explain the 
reluctance of some Jewish scholars to use even the Tree of Life in their 
publications . 22 But more important, when a Christian mystic or Hermetic 
Qabalist will produce a pictorial vision as a “stepping off’ point for inner 
exploration, the Jewish mystic seeks a direct experience of pure consciousness. 

There are, of course, myriad other differences between Jewish and 
Hermetic Qabalahs, not the least of which is the way in which the Divine 
Names are applied. All of these differences are best understood in terms of the 
historical development of western occultism. It was around the second century 
A.D. that the Western Mystery Tradition began to emerge, although presum- 
ably based on elements handed down from a very ancient, and secret, oral 

20 The Qabalistic Tarot 


A great many Qabalistic works, even today, make the claim that the 
Qabalah was a body of esoteric knowledge given to Moses on Mount Sinai, thus 
linking it to the very inception of Jewish Law. The suggestion is that God 
dictated the five hooks of the Bible to Moses, and then provided a secret key for 
their interpretation. 

Another tradition (popularized in the fifteenth century) and the one 
taught by the Golden Dawn to its members, stated that the Qabalah was first 
provided by angels to Adam, as the means of return after the Fall. MacGregor 
Mathers quoted from Christian Ginsburg in his introduction to The Kabbalah 

The Kabbaah was first taught by God himself to a select company 
of angels, who formed a theosophic school in Paradise. After the 
Fall the angels most graciously communicated this heavenly 
doctrine to the disobedient child of earth, to furnish the protoplasts 
with the means of returning to their pristine nobility and felicity. 
From Adam it passed over to Noah, and then to Abraham, the 
friend of God, who emigrated with it to Egypt, where the patriarch 
allowed a portion of this mysterious doctrine to ooze out. It was in 
this way that the Egyptians obtained some knowledge of it, and the 
other Eastern nations could introduce it into their philosophical 
systems. Moses, who was learned in all the wisdom of Egypt, was 
first initiated into the Qabalah in the land of his birth, but became 
most proficient in it during his wanderings in the wilderness when 
he not only devoted to it the leisure hours of the whole forty years, 
but received lessons in it from one of the angels. By the aid of this 
mysterious science the law-giver was enabled to solve the difficul- 
ties which arose during his management of the Israelites, in spite of 
the pilgrimages, wars, and frequent miseries of the nation. He 
covertly laid down the principles of this secret doctrine in the first 
four books of the Pentateuch, but withheld them from Deutero- 
nomy . 23 

It is perhaps sad, but this charming story bears no relationship to 
historical fact, the Qabalah having emerged as the result of a long and complex 
developmental sequence beginning with Merkabah Mysticism. 

Merkabah, meaning “chariot,” was the earliest form of Jewish mysti- 
cism, preceding the Qabalah . 24 The Chariot was that which carried the Throne 
of God as described by the Prophet Ezekiel, the Throne World, to which the 
Jewish Mystic aspired being the counterpart of the early Mysteries of 
Hermeticism and Christian Gnosticism . 25 The second century witnessed the 
merger of a great many trends, and Scholem states flatly that: “The Kabbalah 
in its historical significance, can be defined as the product of the interpenetra- 
tion of Jewish Gnosticism and neoplatonism .” 26 

The Qabalah 21 

In the late-Roman/early-Christian period were found Christian Gnosti- 
cism, Jewish Gnosticism, Neo-Platonism, Neo-Pythagoreanism, Hermeticism 
(pseudo-Egyptian religion) and many obscure cults, all interpenetrating in 
subtle ways. Jewish mysticism of this time is discussed by Scholem in his 
pioneering study, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism, while the Christian 
developments have been chronicled, in a readable way, by Elaine Pagels in The 
Gnostic Gospels. 

These scholars trace the actual sources of ideas, disputed for genera- 
tions, which are the basis of the modem Hermetic Qabalah. What is important 
to recognize is that one need not invoke the smoke screen of “secret oral 
tradition” in most aspects of the Mysteries. The majority of those who have 
contributed to the Qabalah have been very explicit about their work and its 
sources. There is very little in any modem system for which historical precedent 
cannot be found. 


This book of six very brief chapters, dating from some time between the 
third and the sixth centuries A.D., is the cornerstone of Qabalistic literature, 
and the document in which the word Sephiroth first appears. It is a work which 
describes the creation of the universe in terms of the letters of the Hebrew 
alphabet, and in terms of symbolic number undoubtedly related to neo- 
Pythagoreanism . The Sepher Yetzirah is apparently a summation of earlier 
ideas in Jewish mysticism, similar in form to Gnosticism and the Pistis Sophia. 

The precise origin and intention of the Sepher Yetzirah is a matter of 
speculation. One writer of the early nineteen hundreds, with all good intentions, 
even suggested that this mystical text was no more than a book of grammar and 
“as the earliest Hebrew grammar contains not only the fundamental rules of 
Hebrew orthography, but also an account of the origin of letters and 
numerals .” 27 Of course, this theory is not to be taken seriously, but it does 
demonstrate the extremes of interpretation to which Qabalistic documents have 
been subjected. On the other hand, The Sepher Yetzirah is a very difficult and 
obtuse work, so abstract that it demands an approach atypical of that taken to 
most literature. And, when used in concert with the Tarot, the work becomes 
remarkably comprehensible. 

Ideally, the Sepher Yetzirah should be read in the original Hebrew, but a 
number of translations have been made into English. It should also be noted 
that a later document entitled the Thirty-two Paths of Wisdom is usually 
included with the Sepher Yetzirah . 28 


The Sepher Yetzirah set the stage for much later Jewish mysticism by 
amalgamating various mystical currents into a Jewish context. Called the 
“earliest extant Hebrew text of systematic, speculative thought ,” 29 its ideas 
were built upon by later scholars. For example, where the very word Sephiroth 

22 The Qabalistic Tarot 

was originally used to mean simply numbers or numerical stages in creation, in 
the middle ages that word came to mean a specific system of Divine 
emanation. 30 

One of the most important ideas to be added by late medieval scholars 
was that numerological links could be found between words (and thus between 
concepts) using Gematria. The introduction of Gematria served two purposes. 
First, it helped to assure that scribes would spell names precisely as received; 
second, it tended to serve as an incentive for serious meditation on the Names. 

Sometime between 1150 and 1200, in Southern France, another very 
important Qabalist work appeared. This was the Sepher -ha-Bahir, supposedly 
an ancient work, but more likely edited from several works of either German or 
eastern origin. 31 The Bahir contains the first reference to a “secret Tree,” and is 
the first to describe the Sephiroth as the vessels of Divine Light. An English 
translation of the work, by Aryeh Kaplan, has recently been published. 32 

The thirteenth century was especially pivotal for the Jewish Qabalah. It 
was during this time that Isaac the Blind, a scholar from Narbonne, wrote his 
comments on the Sepher Yetzirah, first describing it as involving a systematic 
development of Sephiroth. He also built upon some of the ideas expressed in the 
Bahir, 33 as did others in his day. The result of study of the Sepher Yetzirah in 
terms of the Bahir was that scholars began to discuss the Ten Sephiroth and the 
Thirty-two Paths together. 

Another major idea, appearing at this time in France and Spain, was 
that there were evil Sephiroth existing as exact counterparts to the Good. 34 This 
concept was extensively developed by some of the adepts of the Golden Dawn 

It was in this climate of mystical-intellectual fruition that the greatest of 
all Qabalist treatises appeared. The Zohar was the work of Moses de Leon, 
between 1280 and 1286. 35 It is a series of commentaries on the Bible and on 
mystical cosmology. 

For generations The Zohar was believed to be an ancient work. The text 
itself purports to have been written by a second century rabbi, Simeon ben 
Yohai. Moreover, The Zohar is written primarily in ancient Aramaic, a 
language which is the root of both Hebrew and Arabic. Presumably, Moses de 
Leon felt that his work would be taken more seriously if attributed to an ancient 
author. He was probably correct, for The Zohar quickly assumed major 
proportions as the document of Jewish mysticism. It should be added that 
between approximately 1500 and 1800 the Qabalah was widely considered to be 
the true essence of Jewish theology, 36 rather than the curiosity that it is today 
among Jews. 

Unfortunately, The Zohar has never been translated completely into a 
European language. The five volume English set by Maurice Simon and Harry 
Sperling 37 is competent, but represents only about 35% of the work. The 
translators chose to eliminate those parts which they believed to be later 
additions, or unduly obscure. Three of those omitted texts are, however, to be 
found in The Kabbalah Unveiled 38 translated from Knorr von Rosenroth’s latin 
Kabbalah Denudata of 1677, and which includes a brilliant introduction by 

The Qabalah 23 

MacGregor Mathers. The texts in question are among the most difficult of The 
Zohar. They are: The Book of Concealed Mystery, The Greater Holy Assembly 
and The Lesser Holy Assembly. 

There is only one complete translation into a modem language and that 
is Hebrew. The twenty-one volume translation and commentary, by the late 
Yehuda Ashlag is described by Scholem as “an extremely literal translation 
(but not without many textual misunderstandings).” 39 



The key to the modem Hermetic Qabalah is the Renaissance mind 
which blended Jewish Qabalah and Hermetic mysteries. During this period of 
intense intellectual activity, philosophers encountered previously hidden cur- 
rents of Jewish mysticism, and attempted to adapt these ideas to a Christian 
framework. It was even asserted that through the Qabalah one could most 
effectively prove the divinity of Christ. 

The Renaissance was a time when man considered himself the jewel in a 
universal crown. He was the “measure of all things,” rather than the lowly 
sinner atoning for the Fall as had been insisted by medieval dogma. Thus, 
intellectual and creative activity, a constant questioning of principles, came to 
be of greater importance than the institutionalized values of the past. In more 
basic terms, one can say that what had been a church dominated society 
became secularized. The beliefs and feelings of the medieval period were 
supplanted by the call for a more rational overview of the human condition. The 
society was nominally Christian, but theologians and philosphers had a very 
free hand. 

This freedom to doubt and explore some of the most basic principles of 
Christianity reached its high point at the Medici Academy in Florence. In fact, 
virtually all modem occultism can be traced back to the developments of 
scholars in that time and place. 

The Medici were a family of immense wealth, ruling Florence from the 
fifteenth century until 1737. Their primary contribution was as patrons of the 
arts, a program begun by Cosimo, the first of the great Medici, and continued by 
Lorenzo “the Magnificent,” patron to Leonardo, Michelangelo and Machiavelli. 

Cosimo de Medici was the founder of the Platonic Academy, dedicated to 
the study of Greek philosophy, and a center of Neo-Platonic ideas. This was an 
open “think tank,” much like today’s Institute for Advanced Studies at 
Princeton University. 

Cosimo was a passionate collector of manuscripts and when in 1460 a 
Greek manuscript of the Hermetica came to him from Macedonia, he judged it to 
be of unique importance. The reputation of Hermes Trismegistus’ work as 
providing a key to all knowledge was so considerable that Cosimo instructed 
Marsilio Ficino, director of his Academy, to put aside Plato’s Republic and 
Symposium and translate the Hermetica first. 40 

24 The Qabalistic Tarot 

Early Renaissance philosophers believed that in these documents they 
had the core ideas of the most ancient Egyptian religion, which would lead them 
to the very source of illumination. 41 Their awestruck approach, and belief in the 
utter integrity of these papers, was the foundation of Renaissance magic and a 
whole school of neo-Platonism. It was these ideas which preceded the Qabalistic 
philosophy soon after flowing into the Medici Academy. 

What is known as the Christian Qabalah was also a development of the 
Medici Academy, and the primary accomplishment of Pico della Mirandola, one 
of the court’s intellectual luminaries. It was Pico who had the major Qabalistic 
texts translated into Latin. And it was Pico who, in his 72 Qabalistic 
Conclusions (part of his 900 theses) made the claim that “no science can better 
convince us of the divinity of Jesus Christ than magic and the Kabbalah.” 42 
Pico’s fourteenth Qabalistic principle stated that adding the Hebrew letter B 
(shin) to the Divine name fnn> (yod, heh, vau, heh), and producing 
mtyn’ Jeheshua, Hebrew name of Jesus, made it possible to pronounce the 
unpronounceable name of God. And, from the standpoint of the modem 
Hermetic Qabalah and the Golden Dawn, this is of special significance. 
Perhaps the most important single principle emphasized by today’s Hermetic 
Qabalah is that all things are four elements activated by a fifth, which is Spirit. 
Yod is Fire, Heh is Water, Vau is Air, Heh final is Earth and Shin is Spirit. 

Pico inspired the work of Johannes Reuchlin, the first non-Jew ever to 
write books on the Qabalah. His premise was that the history of mankind is 
based on three periods. In the first period God revealed himself to the Jewish 
patriarchs through the three-fold name ’“tuj , Shaddai. The second period was 
that of Moses and the Talmud, when God appeared as the four-lettered name 
( Tetragramaton ) mn» . Finally, came the period of man’s redemption 
through Christ, when God revealed himself as the five-lettered Jeheshua. 

Thus Pico della Mirandola and Johannes Reuchlin became the founders 
of the philosophical aspects of Christian Qabalism. The first practical work of 
their school was produced by Henry Cornelius Agrippa, whose De Occult 
Philosophia of 1531 was widely read. 43 It is, however, Agrippa who is 
responsible for the very negative association of Qabalah with witchcraft and 
sorcery, a belief held by many even today. 

All of these literary works had been stimulated by social developments 
in the west. Much of the intellectual current of the fifteenth century can be 
traced to the conquest of the Byzantine Empire by the Turks in 1453, and the 
subsequent migration of Greek scholars to Italy. A similar trend occurred in 
1492 when the Jews were expelled from Spain and many Jewish scholars also 
settled in Italy, moving onto ground prepared for them by Pico with his theses of 

There was widespread interest in Hebrew mysticism by the end of the 
century, and advocates of the Christian Qabalah included important Catholic 
prelates and theologians who viewed the Qabalah as a vehicle for the 
intellectual renewal of the faith. Thus the Christian Qabalah, merged with 
elements of Hermeticism, came to be the primary occult current of the Italian 
Renaissance. 44 

The Qabalah 25 

The Renaissance attitude toward the Hermetic sciences was jolted 
sharply approximately one hundred years later when Isaac Casaubon declared 
the Hermetica an early Christian forgery rather than an ancient Egyptian 
document. He stated that the books were written by a Christian or semi- 
Christian in an attempt to make these doctrines acceptable, to gentiles. 45 
Casaubon’s work brought about a significant decline of interest in magic, a 
generally acceptable Renaissance pursuit until his revelations. Today it is 
understood that the Hermetic documents are not specific forgeries, but that they 
were produced even later than Causaubon believed. 

Despite Causubon’s overwhelming evidence, some writers, including 
Robert Fludd and Athanasius Kircher, chose to ignore historical reality, and 
continued to declare the Hermetic fragments the work of an ancient Egyptian 
adept named Hermes Trismegistus. 46 


The next important figure we encounter is Dr. John Dee (1527-1608), the 
great Elizabethan philosopher who, with Edward Kelly, developed the system of 
Enochian Magic later expanded by MacGregor Mathers. Dee shared the ideas of 
men such as Pico della Mirandola and Agrippa, and could be considered their 
English counterpart. Moreover, like the Italian metaphysicians, he enjoyed the 
protection of the royal court, being an advisor and confident to Queen 
Elizabeth. 47 

Dee produced two works of major importance in the history of occultism. 
The first was his Hieroglyphic Monad, an obtuse treatise of spiritual alchemy 
and mathematics. The second was his True and Faithful Relation in which he 
records his work with Edward Kelly as they are “given” the Enochian system 
by spirits. This is a surprisingly fresh and interesting book despite its 
ponderous seventeenth century style, and includes such gems as the decision of 
the two researchers to exchange wives. 

Both works were important to the development of the modem Hermetic 
Qabalah. The Hieroglyphic Monad provided the philosophical foundation for 
the ideas of Johann Valentine Andrae, author of at least one of the Rosicrucian 
allegories (to which the Golden Dawn traced its beginnings). And the ideas of 
the True and Faithful Relation were tremendously expanded by Mathers, who 
went so far as to develop an Enochian chess set. This latter is virtually 
unknown, but is deeply linked with the Tarot, and is considered by some to be 
the most potent divinatory device ever invented. Mathers used Egyptian God 
forms on four boards derived from the tablets illustrated by Dee, thus 
incorporating Hermetic ideas (probably through Fludd) into Dee’s system. 


Rosicrucianism, developed in Bohemia in the early seventeenth century, 
appears to be the direct result of John Dee’s travels through Germany in 1589. 48 

26 The Qabalistic Tarot 

There are three key works of Rosicrucian philosophy. The first of these 
works is the Fama Fraternitas written in German, and originally published 
(though circulating in manuscript for perhaps four years earlier) in 1614. The 
Fama Fraternitas or A Discovery of the Fraternity of the Most Noble Order of 
the Rose Cross, tells the story of a mysterious Christian Rosencreutz and his 
fraternity, dedicated to healing the sick. The text particularly describes the 
discovery of Christian Rosencreutz’s tomb, the vault which was the inspiration 
for the sanctum sanctorum used by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn 
(Paul Foster Case had such a vault painted for his BOTA, and many others 
may still exist today). The legend states that his body was found perfectly 
preserved, holding the Book ‘T,’ which has been symbolically connected with 
the Tarot. 49 

A second work, expanding on the Fama Fraternitas, appeared two years 
later in 1616. This was the Confessio Fraternitas or The Confession of the 
Laudable Fraternity of the Most Honorable Order of the Rosy Cross, Written to 
all the Learned of Europe. Unlike the Fama, which appeared in the vernacular 
German, the Confessio is in latin, and clearly aimed at a more intellectual 
reader. Also, unlike the Fama, it is quite boring. 

The author of these two works is unknown. However a third major work, 
closely connected with the Fama and the Confessio was written by Johann 
Valentine Andrae. A cloud has long covered the Chemical Wedding of 1616 due 
to Andrae’s later claim that this work of his youth was only a joke. Confusion 
may arise in that the text is unquestionably a serious and enlightened religious 
tract. As Rudolph Steiner wrote on his essay on the Chemical Wedding: 
“Anyone who knows what the human soul experiences when it has opened the 
gates into the spiritual world, need only read a few pages of the Chemical 
Wedding of Christian Rosencreutz of the Year 1459 to recognize that the 
descriptions given in this book are based upon genuine spiritual experience.” 50 

Frances Yates tries to clear up the mystery with a few words. She notes 
that in discussing his work, Andrae used the latin word ludibrium, which means 
a mockery or a sport. He spoke of “the ludibrium of the vain Fama,” or the 
“ludibrium of the fictitious Rosicrucian Fraternity.” But Yates proposes that in 
the seventeenth century the word could also mean a play, or a comic fiction, and 
that Andrae was suggesting that Rosicricianism was theatrical in a positive 
and educational sense. 51 

Our intention here is not to inundate the reader with the weighty 
theorums of literary research, only to make clear the controversy which 
surrounds so many of the occult documents which have contributed to the 
system of Hermetic Qabalah. 


Robert Fludd, as we have mentioned, was one of those who insisted on 
promulgating the Renaissance idea of Hermes Trismegistus as ancient 
Egyptian adept (another was the German Michael Maier). Fludd significantly 
furthered the idea that an actual Rosicrucian brotherhood existed, and seems to 
have believed it himself, though admitting that he had never actually met a 

The Qabalah 27 

Rosicrucian. 52 Fludd combined Hermeticism and Qabalism in the light of the 
Rosicrucian manifestoes and the developments of John Dee. He is therefore, one 
of the major precursers of Mathers and the modem Hermetic Qabalah. 


The question of purposeful deception about the origins of many esoteric 
manuscripts is a serious and difficult one, usually judiciously avoided by writers 
on the occult who wish to cast their beliefs in the most positive light. But the 
tally of literature for which antiquity is falsely claimed is so great that the very 
consistency of such claims becomes intriguing: 

The Hermetica, written by a Greek and widely dated (third century to 
the Renaissance) by scholars, hut believed to be the original documents 
of ancient Egyptian religion. 

The Zohar, purported to be the work of a rabbi in the early Christian 
period, yet actually by a thirteenth century writer whose claim of 
antiquity for it gave the books greater importance. 

The Rosicrucian Manifestoes, an invention of Johann Valentine Andrae 
and others. Neither a Christian Rosencreutz nor the mysterious 
Rosicrucians ever existed. 

The '“Ancient Cypher Manuscripts” of the Golden Dawn, a fragmen- 
tary system of supposedly ancient rituals, but an unquestionable 
forgery. 53 

To this list one might certainly add some of Blavatsky’s work including 
the infamous Mahatma Letters and perhaps the Stanzas ofDyzan on which she 
based her massive work, The Secret Doctrine. 

In all such cases of fakery, deception, or whatever it may be called, we 
find authors under pressure of the public’s essential belief that the more 
traditional a work, the more valid it is. On the other hand, every one of those 
works which we have listed here as having fraudulent origins claimed for it, 
stands on its own as enlightened. These are the inspired works of men and 
women who have known. 

Manifestations of the psychology involved occurs repeatedly in all 
aspects of the study of the Mysteries, even with Paul Foster Case. When the 
Book of Tokens appeared in 1934, Case prefaced it saying: “We do not know the 
name of the author. Internal evidence in the text suggests that he may have 
been one of the later Qabalists. Perhaps he knew the Tarot, perhaps not.” 54 
Today, Case’s organization publishes the Book of Tokens as Case’s own work, 
responding to inquiries about the discrepency in attribution of authorship that 
Case was a very modest man. But if history is any indicator, it is more likely 
that Case felt that the work of some anonymous “later Qabalist” would be 
received more positively than a work of his own. 

The point we are trying to make here is that rather than running from 
the obvious fact that the Hermetic Qabalah is based on many fabricated claims, 

28 The Qabalistic Tarot 

history should be faced directly. In fact, the very fabrications are a pattern 
which, ironically, tends to point us toward the inner legitimacy of the works. 

Those who remain unconvinced that a work of spurious pedigree might 
have great spiritual worth should look very closely at the history of Christiani- 
ty, as well as that peculiar amalgam of heterogeneous texts, the Bible. 


In view of the evidence that Rosicrucianism, though high spiritual 
allegory, was a seventeenth century myth, the Golden Dawn “history lesson” 
incorporated into its Adeptus Minor ritual of initiation is interesting. It begins: 
“Know, then, O Aspirant, that the Mysteries of the Rose and the Cross have 
existed from time immemorial, and that the Rites were practiced, and the 
Wisdom taught, in Egypt, Eleusis, Samothrace, Persia, Chaldea and India, and 
in far more ancient lands.” 55 The ceremony continues to directly paraphrase the 
description of the life of Christian Rosencreutz in the Fama Fraternitas. 

It is probable that most of the members of the Order believed that 
Christian Rosencreutz had been an actual person, and that the Golden Dawn 
was in a direct line from his fraternity. Whether Mathers and Westcott under- 
stood the real history is another matter entirely. 56 There are many instances of 
both having accepted traditional misattributions of mystical literature. Westcott 
for example, wrote an introduction to The Chaldean Oracles of Zoroaster, 
describing them as embodying “many of the principle features of Chaldean 
philosophy.” 57 We know that the Oracles were actually writen by Julianus, a 
contemporary of Marcus Aurelius, 58 but the conclusions about authorship on 
many such works is quite recent. 

What is most important, however, is that we are able to uncover so many 
of the Order’s historical tracks. Thus, its leaders are understood to have built 
carefully on a known traditional framework. The Hermetic Qabalah today 
bears the marks of Westcott and Mathers. Even the spelling of the Hebrew word 
Qabalah (as opposed to “Kabbalah,” or “Cabala”), was chosen by Mathers as 
being more consistent with the original language ( blp ). And the Qabalistic 
correspondences found in Aleister Crowley’s 777 appear to be based largely on 
Mathers’ work. It is with the Order of the Golden Dawn that the modem system 
of Path colors on the Tree of Life (see following section) and other attributions 
first appear. The Order developed an elaborate system of teaching based on 
ritual, although the extent to which the well-known Banishing Rituals may be 
theirs is uncertain. At least such rituals are not found in Agrippa, Barrett or 
other magical treatises prior to the Golden Dawn. Here again, the ways in 
which an oral tradition may have been involved cannot be determined. 
Historical evidence notwithstanding, the story of Christian Rosencreutz 
unquestionably taps into some secret tradition. It certainly relates to the same 
Universal patterns symbolized by the Tarot. 

The “Hermetic” emphasis of the Golden Dawn on the Egyptian Gods 
was partly social, and partly traditional. In late nineteenth century England 

The Qabalah 29 

there was great curiousity about anything mysterious and obscure, the science 
of archaeology being still in its infancy (in 1900, for example, no Greek art prior 
to the Parthenon was known!). Emphasis on the Egyptian Gods served to 
separate the participants in ritual from the daily routines of Victorian life. It 
also effected a separation from Christianity. The Hermetic Order of the Golden 
Dawn affirmed the pure Renaissance Hermeticism of Ficino. 

Philosophically, the system of Egyptian Gods is very comfortably 
equated with the Qabalah. Despite the apparent proliferation of Gods and 
Goddesses, Egyptian religion was monotheistic. All of the Gods were aspects or 
modifications of one ultimate and original deity. Moreover, like the Qabalah, 
the Egyptian pantheon shows different aspects of the same God under different 
circumstances. For example, there are many forms of Horus, all of which have 
the name Heru imbedded in its Egyptian name, such as “Horus the Child,” or 
“Blind Horus (Horus at the Head of Sightlessness)” or “Horus of the two 
Horizons,” whom the Greeks called Harmachis as opposed to Harpocrates. 

Horus is Child who is the center of our known Universe in the Qabalah, 
and to whom we refer in a variety of ways. And as the Child appears in a variety 
of ways, so do the Great Father and the Great Mother. All of this was clearly 
understood by the Golden Dawn, who found considerable utility in the 
Egyptian system of Gods. These Gods express universal relationships better 
than any other Pantheon. Today, however, the Order’s dependence on Egyptian 
Gods is viewed by many students as only a curiosity of the past. 


The Tree of Life (Figure 1) is intended to symbolize the entire universe, a 
proposition so vast in its implications that some may doubt that such a symbol 
is even possible. It is a deceptively simple diagram composed of ten spheres 
called Sephiroth, and twenty-two connecting lines called Paths. Collectively, 
the Sephiroth and Paths are called the Thirty Two Paths of Wisdom. 

The Ten Sephiroth are: 

1. KETHER, itiD The Crown 

2. CHOKMAH, nnon Wisdom 

3. BINAH, ru’n Understanding 

Between Binah and the next Sephira is an invisible Sephira known as 
Daath, or Knowledge. It is not represented on the Tree, because it is a bridge, 
built by each individual across the Abyss existing between the upper Sephiroth 
and those below. 

4. CHESED, Ton Mercy 

5. GEBURAH, nTlTA Severity 

6. TIPHARETH, mKati Beauty 

7. NETZACH, nm Victory 

8. HOD, Tin Splendor 

9. YESOD, T10’ Foundation 
10. MALKUTH, moi?n Kingdom 

30 The Qabalistic Tarot 



Figure 1. The Ten Holy Sephiroth on the Tree of life 

The Tree of Life, used by modem Hermetic-Qabalists, was first 
published in Kircher’s Oedipus Aegypticus in 1652 (Figure 2A). And while this 
Tree must have undergone a lengthy development, its historical roots appear 
buried in the secret past of Mystery religions. Moreover, a general develop- 
mental sequence is difficult to establish as Jewish Qabalists espoused different 
forms of the Tree. 

The Qabalah 3] 

The first reference to a “Secret Tree” is in the Bahir, appearing in France 
around 1200. If, however, one were to draw a Tree on the basis of that text, only 
eight of the ten Sephiroth, Binah through Malkuth, would be included, since the 
Tree is stated to grow as it is watered by Wisdom (Chokmah). Something of the 
amorphous spirit of that first Tree is found in the diagram published by Robert 
Fludd in 1617 (Figure 2B). Yet is is curious to find that a glyph of one hundred 
years earlier (Figure 2C) is far more conceptually developed and sophisticated. 
Moreover, we find that a Jewish illustration from as late as 1708 (Figure 2D) 
takes a different approach, indicating its dependence on the Sepher Yetzirah. 

A B 

1652 1617 





Figure 2. Development of the Tree of Life diagram. A) Form of the Tree in Kircher’s 
Oedipus Aegypticus, 1652. B) Adapated from Robert Fludd, Complete Works, 1617. C) 
Illustration from Porta Lucis, Ausburg, 1516. D) Illustration from Pa’amon ue Rimmon, 

The most that can be said with certainty is that the Tree of Life has 
evolved over the centuries, following ever increasing public interest and, not 
coincidentally, reflecting the perspectives of contemporary philosophy. The full- 
color two-dimensional Tree of Life (Plate I) is the most developed expression of 
the nineteenth century Hermetic-Qabalah. If the evolutionary pattern con- 
tinues, it is likely that the three dimensional Tree of Life (Plate II) is the form 
under which the Hermetic Qabalah will be considered in generations to come. 
That Tree embodies in its pillars, the principle of five: four balanced elements, 
infused with a fifth element which is Spirit. 

32 The Qabalistic Tarot 


The Qabalah teaches that our universe evolved organically and 
sequentially, following the Path of the Flaming Sword (Figure 3). From a 
mysterious Unmanifest emerged Kether then Chokmah then Binah. These 
three formed the Supernal Triangle, a spiritual height bridged by the invisible 
Sephira, Daath. Chesed, Geburah and Tiphareth formed the Ethical Triangle. 
Finally, with Netzach, Hod and Yesod, the Astral Triangle (Figure 4) was 
created. Malkuth, it will be seen, stands alone at the base of the Tree, 
conspicuously removed from the rest, particularly when Daath is imagined at 
the upper point opposite Yesod. It is the recipient of the influences of all the 
other Sephiroth, containing the reflected perfection of Kether, while at the same 
time being the product of what is described as the Fall. 

Figure 3. The Path of Figure 4. The Triangles 

the Flaming Sword of the Tree of Life 

The Qabalah 33 

The Tree of Life is divided into three Pillars (Figure 5). The Sephiroth on 
the right side are on the Pillar of Mercy, those on the left, the Pillar of Severity 
and those at the center, the Middle Pillar. Each Sephira is perfectly balanced by 
its opposite. Moreover, each Path is the perfect balance between the two 
Sephiroth which it connects, and of the Path opposite it. 

(The Middle Pillar) 

Figure 5. The Pillars on the Tree of Life 

34 The Qabalistic Tarot 

This glyph is a compound symbol which may be considered at two 
levels: It is the individual, the Microcosm (God in miniature) and the 
Macrocosm, the Greater Universe in the image of which the individual is 
created. Each Sephira is related to some part of the human body, and with a 
corresponding part of a greater Divine Body. The principle involved is 
expressed by the axiom which we will often repeat, “As above, so below.” 

There are a number of areas of traditional Qabalah which may be 
somewhat confusing, but which are actually very simple. One of these areas is 
the application of “man” to the Tree, and involves two separate concepts. The 
first concept is that of ADAM KADMON (“The Grand Old Man of the Zohar”). 
Adam Kadmon is all ten Sephiroth, a great organic unity, a spiritual body in 
which each of us might be considered a single cell carrying all of the potential 
attributes of the whole. 

Adam Kadmon should not be confused with ARIKH ANPIN or ZAUER 
ANPIN, the other two personifications covering more than one Sephira. Arikh 
Anpin means the Vast Face or Countenance; Zauer Ampin means the Lesser 
Face or Countenance. Arik Anpin is Macroprosopus an anthropomorphization 
of the Sephiroth of the Supernal Triangle. Zauer Anpin is Microprosopus, the 
five Sephiroth around Tiphareth. Together they illustrate the principle of “As 
above, so below.” 

To reiterate, Adam Kadmon means the whole Tree of Life pictured as a 
man. Arikh Anpin is the man above; Zauer Anpin is the man below. 

The idea of each part of the human body having some Divine correlate is 
perhaps more readily comprehensible to an Easterner than a Westerner. The 
Yogin has no difficulty dealing with the concept of certain centers of spiritual 
activity within the physical body. The Solar Plexus is the sun center in man, a 
link between the individual and the solar powers of the universe. The physical 
center has the potential to be ennervated, consciousness transferred to it, and 
the individual brought into direct contact with the pure energy which is, in the 
Qabalistic system, called Tiphareth. 

An important part of practical work with the Hermetic Qabalah 
involves the exercise of the Middle Pillar , 59 where the energies of the Sephiroth 
are purposely invoked and built up within the individual. In this exercise the 
Sephiroth are reversed, i.e., Chesed is at the left shoulder, and Geburah is at the 
right, since they are considered subjectively within the body rather than being 
viewed from outside. 

Practical work on the Tree also involves traveling the Paths connecting 
the Sephiroth, the objective centers of energy. The Paths are the subjective 
experience of passing from one Sephiroth to the next. But insofar as there is a 
constant flow and motion within the universe, there is a constant flow as energy 
passes down from one Sephira to another and up again. The universe is like a 
gigantic circuit, where power flows into Kether from the Unmanifest, down 
through the Tree and up again. There is a continual renewal of energy. Thus, 
when viewed from another frame of reference, the Paths may be considered 
objective. They are subjective for us, yet they are objective in that they carry a 
constant flow of energy of such specificity as to be expressable as the Major 

The Qabalah 35 

Arcana of the Tarot. In other words, we can study the Tree of Life intellectually, 
or build it in ourseves. We can approach the Tarot cards symbolizing the Paths 
from within or without. 

When the cards are used individually for astral projection, they are 
graphic and subjective symbols of that which is experienced on the Paths 
between the Sephiroth. Here they might also be described as that which is 
required to pass from one Sephiroth to the next. They define stages of personal 
development. On the other hand, when the Trumps appear in a divination, they 
are viewed from without, and are objective forces affecting the question. A large 
number of these Trumps, appearing in a spread, shows forces entirely beyond 
the control of the Querent. 

“Path working,” particularly when it involves the Tarot cards, has a 
high degree of mystery and romance attached to it (as does all astral projection), 
but the experiences are very practical. To be of any use, the inner lessons must 
be applied to our every day lives. 

The whole process of spiritual development involves a bringing into 
balance of the component parts of the personality, so that it may function in 
conscious cooperation with the Higher Self. But when this process is described 
by the Mystery Schools in terms of the Four Elements, Fire, Water, Air and 
Earth, it may sound remote and mysterious. It is not. We grow by learning 
perfect control over ourselves within our chosen environment, to the point that 
we are no longer at the mercy of that environment. This is a spiritual suicide 
mission for the personality, and for the whole concept of “self as it exists 
within an incarnation. This is a process which is natural to everyone, but which 
is accelerated by focusing attention on it. 

The Tree of Life imposes a defining pattern on qualities of the 
personality and work of personal development which is already in progress. 
Thus, one feels affinities or antagonisms toward certain Tarot cards, depending 
upon the extent to which their lessons have already been learned. By purposely 
studying and using the Paths, we take hold of our own spiritual learning 
process, forcing attention to many important Paths which we might otherwise 
choose to avoid. 

The fact that the Qabalah demands attention to all parts of a given 
whole, makes it an ideal system for intentionally affecting spiritual growth. It 
demonstrates that we exist in a rational and graded system. It suggests where 
we come from and where we go. There is none of the vaguery of other systems. 
And, as the symbolic parts of the human body are related to the Tree, so are the 
various aspects of the Soul (Figure 6). We go from the lowest aspect of 
manifestation to the highest, the Yechidah of Kether, the Primal Point to which 
we aspire. 

All major religions teach that it is our heritage to return to some Primal 
Point from which we evolved. This is expressed as “heaven,” or “nirvana,” or 
whatever is the ultimate happy state promised by the faith. But of all the 
metaphysical systems available in the west, only the Qabalah suggests the 
extent to which we progress through a natural course of development, as if 
through a school, moving from one grade to another. 

36 The Qabalistic Tarot 

Figure 6. The Divisions of the Soul. Note here that the Neschamah of Binah defines the 
entire Supernal Triangle, in the same way that Binah’s planet, Saturn, is also taken to 
mean the three upper Sephiroth. 

The scheme shown here is that taught by the Golden Dawn. Later writers such as 
Fortune and Case perceived a problem in that the “animal instincts” given to Malkuth 
were better related to Yesod. Ruach, i.e. Microprosopus, Lesser Countenance, was divided 
into Upper and Lower, Higher Self and Personality. 

In the Order of the Golden Dawn, the members were graded according to 
the highest Sephira to which they had been ritually advanced. 0=0 meant that 
the candidate was initiated into basic membership; 1=10 meant that he had 
taken the first initiation of the tenth Sephira, Malkuth and the spiritual 
Element of Earth; 2=9 signified initiation into Yesod, the ninth Sephira and the 

The Qabalah 37 

realm of Air; 3=8 meant the initiation of Hod and the Element of Water; 4=7 
meant initiation into Netzach and Fire. 

These four ritual steps symbolized the introduction of the candidate into 
the Mysteries of matter. Theoretically, each new initiation meant control over 
one of the key aspects of the Personality. 

5=6 was the initiation into the Inner Order, and the Mysteries of 
Tiphareth. This also heralded the true enlightenment of the seeker. 

These initiatory rituals demonstrate the process by which the Higher 
Consciousness unfolds, and may be related to the very symbol of mankind, the 
Pentagram (Figure 7). The four lower arms are the balanced forces of the 
Elements. The topmost point is the Spirit functioning through the Elements. 

It should not, of course, be supposed that an initiatory ritual always 
brings a miraculous change in the individual. The real changes are the result of 
a sacrament within, stimulated by the sacrament without. And it might be safe 
to assume that very few members of the Order of the Golden Dawn were really 
adepts in the true sense of the word. 





Figure 7. Attribution of Elements to the Pentagram 


The idea of Paths which are “secret,” or “hidden” seems to have been 
introduced (or at least popularized) by Paul Case. 60 There is no evidence of the 
Golden Dawn having schematized any Paths other than the traditional thirty- 
two. Actually, the Secret Paths are nothing more than the connection of every 
Sephira with every other Sephira (Figure 8), suggesting that it is possible to 
move directly from any form of consciousness to any other. This theory is a 
mitigation of the idea implied in the usual Tree of Life diagram, that we must 
pass through one Sephira before we encounter another. 

38 The Qabalistic Tarot 

Figure 8. These Paths connect each Sephira to each other. Tiphareth already has a 
traditional Path to every Sephira except Malkuth. A) The “Secret” Paths on the Tree of 
Life. B) The Unicursal Hexagram derived from the Tree. 

The concept of Secret Paths definitely expands the possibilities of the 
Tree. It also allows us to see certain relationships which would not be obvious 
otherwise, such as the derivation of the Unicursal Hexagram from the Tree 
itself. This figure was first published by Aleister Crowley, who undoubtedly 
derived it in this way. In a Tree of Life drawn by Crowley, and published in the 
1955 Neptune Press edition of 777, we discover that Crowley has shown all of 
the additional lines between Sephiroth required to make that figure. 

The Qabalah 39 


Qabalistic teachers repeatedly stress that the Tree of Life represents our 
manifest universe. This emphasis is placed to express the idea that behind even 
the most exalted aspects of our universe lies an Unmanifest, which is the 
ultimate source of all, and which cannot be known to us. The Unmanifest is 
symbolized by the words Negative Limitless Light, or in Hebrew Ain Soph Aur. 
It is shown on the Tree of Life, above Kether, as three curves of radiating light. 
The outer curve is Ain, the middle Ain Soph, and the innermost Ain Soph Aur. 
These are understood to be veils separating the outpouring of our universe from 
That from which it emerged. From behind these veils energy flows constantly 
down to us through Kether. 

While there are points of reference to all aspects of the Tree of Life in the 
Tarot, no such reference is made to the Ain Soph Aur. The Tarot, whose letters 
are frequently transposed to form the word Rota, shows the Wheel of the 
Manifest Universe. 


The Qabalah describes the universe as divided into four separate 
“Worlds,” (Figure 9), each of which is represented by one letter of the Divine 
Name, or Tetragrammaton ( mrp ). The first is Atziluth, the Archetypal 
World, the world of Pure Spirit which activates all of the other worlds which 
evolve from it. Here are attributed the Gods of the Sephiroth, and the letter Yod, 
Primal Fire. The second world is Briah, the Creative World, the level of pure 
intellect, of the Archangels and of Heh, Primal Water. The third is Yetzirah, 
called the Formative World because here are found the subtle and fleeting 
patterns behind matter. It is the realm of angels and of Primal Air, symbolized 
by the letter Vau. The final World is Assiah, the active world containing both 
the physical world of sensation and the unseen energies of matter. It is the 
realm of the Cherubim, the final Heh of the Divine Name and Primal Earth. 

Each of these worlds generated the energies beneath it, with the 
universe becoming increasingly dense as it evolved from nothingness to matter. 
The Unmanifest produced the Kether of Atziluth, and following the Path of the 
Flaming Sword sequentially, from Sephira to Sephira, from one world to the 
next, completion was reached in the Malkuth of Assiah, creating forty 
Sephiroth in all. 

Purists, those who insist that the earlier ideas on the Qabalah are more 
legitimate than those of more recent Qabalists, tend to espouse a one Tree 
attribution (compare the methods in Figure 9). However, this is an excellent 
example of the ways in which the Qabalah has grown as a descriptive system 
over the centuries. The four Tree attribution is the best for Tarot interpretation. 

Four color scales, one for each world, are accepted by the Hermetic 
Qabalah: The King, Queen, Emperor and Empress, answering respectively to 
the sequence of the Worlds and the Tetragrammaton. The notion of color is 

40 The Qabalistic Tarot 

(A) (B) 

Figure 9. The Four Worlds. A) Scheme of separate Trees. B) Attribution to a single Tree. 

pivotal to the study of Tarot, and painting the Four Worlds in their appropriate 
colors will provide special insights about the cards. The Golden Dawn Tarot, as 
published, includes the traditional Tree of Life used for practical work. Here are 
shown the colors of the Atziluth Paths, and the Sephiroth colors of Briah. There 
must always be a balance of masculine and feminine in representation 
involving the Tree, and this is accomplished by combining the two scales in one 

The Qabalah 41 

In our discussion of the Four Worlds we have chosen the term Primal to 
describe Fire, Water, Air and Earth symbolized by the letters of the Tetra- 
grammaton in the Four Worlds, in an effort to distinguish these energies from 
other forms of Elements described on the Tree. But in each individual World 
(Yod) Fire is also attributed to Chokmah, (Heh) Water to Binah, (Vau) Air to 
Tiphareth and (Heh Final) Earth to Malkuth. We propose to describe these 
subdivisions of the Primal Elements as Specific Elements. Thus, in Atziluth, 
Primal Fire, are four such Specific Elements: a Fire (Specific) of Fire (Primal), A 
Water (Specific) of Fire (Primal), an Air (Specific) of Fire (Primal), and an Earth 
(Specific) of Fire (Primal). In Briah, the World of Primal Water, there is a Fire of 
Water, a Water of Water, an Air of Water and an Earth of Water. The pattern 
follows through Yetzirah and Assiah, and is the basis for attributing the Court 
Cards to the Tarot. For example, the entire suit of Wands describes Atziluth, the 
Archetypal World. Wands, therefore are Primal Fire, the Primal Yod. This 
Primal Fire is divided into four aspects, personified by the Tarot: The King of 
Wands, related to Chokmah in Atziluth, is Fire of Fire. The Queen of Wands, 
related to Binah in Atziluth, is Water of Fire. The Prince of Wands, related to 
Tiphareth in Atziluth, is Ar of Fire. And the Princess of Wands, related to 
Malkuth in Atziluth, is Earth of Fire. 

There is also an important tertiary application of the Elements, found on 
the Paths where different Hebrew letters, called Maternals by the Sepher 
Yetzirah, are applied. Since all other letters and energies are derived from these 
three Maternals, the Elements attributed to them will be called Transitional 
Elements. THE FOOL is the letter Aleph and Ar. But this is not the same as 
that which is represented overall by Vau of Briah (Primal Ar) or the Vau of 
Tiphareth (Specific Ar). The Elements of the Paths are Transitional in that 
they are in a constant state of flow between two Sephiroth. 

Having subjected the reader to a bombardment of terms, the suggestion 
that there are yet three more types of Elements may be less than welcome. 
However, this is an area of Qabalistic studies which has not been generally 
explored, and which is a source of constant confusion. Let us quickly consider 
the other types of Elements, and then attempt to reach some coherent overview 
of them all. 

The Elements, the fourfold division found throughout the Tree of Life, 
are rooted in Kether. Here they are undefined and unexpressed, and are 
Primordial Elements. Another application of the term Elements is made to the 
four lower Sephiroth, Fire to Netzach, Water to Hod, Ar to Yesod and Earth to 
Malkuth. These are Astral Elements. Finally, in Malkuth, are the Base 
Elements which are the ultimate expressions of those first found in Kether in 
their primordial state. In every single application of this fluid term Element, the 
formula of the Yod Heh Vau Heh applies. Wherever Yod appears it has fiery 
outgoing qualities; wherever Heh appears it has enclosing and fluid qualities of 
Water; wherever Vau appears it is the airy result of the combination of the Yod 
and Heh; wherever Heh Final appears, it is the solidified end result of the 
actions of the Yod Heh and Vau. This pattern is really the only thing to 
remember, since it is applied to a variety of very different qualities. 

42 The Qabalistic Tarot 











(N) Air 
( Q) Water 
(B) Fire 

Figure 10. The Four Elements ( ill fl’ ) as they describe various aspects of the Tree of 
Life. Left: The Four Worlds. Right: The Elements as applied to any single Tree. While 
m,T> relates to the Sephiroth, N , D and B relate to Paths. 

The Qabalah 43 

To reiterate those terms which may be applied to the so-called Elements 
(Figure 10): 

1) PRIMORDIAL ELEMENTS. Found in Kether. Undifferentiated 

2) PRIMAL ELEMENTS. The Yod Heh Vau Heh applied to the Four 

3) TRANSITIONAL ELEMENTS. The Yod, Heh and Vau which are 
Matemals on the Paths of the Tree of Life. 

4) SPECIFIC ELEMENTS. The Yod Heh Vau Heh as applied to 
Chokmah, Binah, Tiphareth and Malkuth in any of the Four Worlds. 

5) ASTRAL ELEMENTS. The Yod Heh Vau Heh applied to the four 
Lower Sephiroth. 

6) BASE ELEMENTS. Found in Malkuth, blended. The ultimate 
expression of the outpouring of the universe into matter. Taken 
together, the base elements are a subdivision of Astral Earth. 

This is an admittedly complicated scheme, but it is presented to 
underscore the fact that different types of energies are symbolized by the Fire, 
Water, Air, Earth scheme on the Tree of Life. The Yod of Atziluth is not 
commensurate with the Yod applied to the Path of Shin, or Yod applied to a 
sequence begun in Netzach. Yet these are all described by the word “Fire.” 
Again, what is really important is the sequence represented by the Tetra- 
grammaton. We might arbitrarily say, for example, that Apple is Fire, Orange is 
Water, Pear is Air and Lemon is Earth. In this case we would be applying a 
formula to describe a relationship between Apple, Orange, Pear and Lemon. If, 
then, the same underlying pattern is found beneath Swing, Chair, Sofa and 
Footstool, it should not be supposed that because both Apple and Swing begin 
the sequence they are exactly equivalent. A decription of different energies in 
the same way seems to be a trap set by the early Qabalists. 


A symbol is of value in that it suggests something which cannot be 
adequately expressed in language (although language is itself a form of 
symbolism). More important, however, is that while on our plane of existence 
symbols are abstractions, they are realities on other planes. In the astral realms 
a symbol can be a powerful device for attracting or for repelling spiritual 
entities. It can be a call or a protection, in that it affirms the power of a deity 
governing a particular form and level of energy. When used in this way, a 
symbol could be defined in the same terms as a talisman on our own plane: it is 
essentially “charged with the force which it is intended to represent.” 

There is a vast complex of symbols attached to the Sephiroth and Paths. 
For example, Kether may be described mathematically as The Point, in that it is 

44 The Qabalistic Tarot 

the First Emanation. As Chokmah emerges from Kether a Line is formed, and 
with the development of Binah there is a Triangle. And so, one may progress 
down the Tree applying geometric figures according, to the number of the 
Sephiroth. Chesed is a Square, Geburah a Pentagram, Tiphareth a Hexagram, 
etc. These are the most basic and in some respects the most profound of the 
symbols attached to the Tree. The most complicated symbols are the Hebrew 
letters and the Divine Names written in those letters. 

Some may have an intuitive grasp of the extent to which the Hebrew 
Alphabet is more than just letters. Many years ago the artist Ben Shahn 
published a book called Love and Joy About Letters, in which he described his 
own feeling toward that alphabet as a child: “I loved to draw and contemplate 
the big flowing letters; I was most at home with them and could make them long 
before I could do anything else with my hands. It was such a pleasure to copy 
them from the prayer-book because in each letter there was some subtle part of 
the others, and as one learned to make the new ones he discovered those 
familiar parts that he already knew.” 62 

A Hebrew letter, taken by itself, or in conjunction with others as it forms 
a God Name, is as much a symbol as a geometric figure (letters and words are 
often visualized in practical work). To each Hebrew letter is assigned a number, 
and words have special meaning according to numbers derived by what is 
known as Qabalistic Addition (to be discussed later). Suffice it to say here that 
insofar as Hebrew letters are assigned to each of the Trump Cards, those cards 
may even be used to pictorially spell Divine Names, and give insight into the 
nature of the deity. This exercise serves to demonstrate the extent to which the 
Qabalistic system is composed of precisely interrelated parts. 

One important point which must be made has to do with the constant 
use of color in the Hermetic Qabalah. Most people consider color symbolic, but it 
is not. Colors are the actual forces, not merely symbols of those forces. The same 
may be said for pure tone. 


In the Tarot, the Sephiroth are represented by the ten numbered cards of 
each suit (Figure 11) and by the Court Cards which are placed on the Sephiroth 
according to the principle of the Min’ . Any Ace pertains to Kether, any two 
to Chokmah, any three to Binah, etc. The Court cards, as we have indicated, are 
placed with the Kings (’)in Chokmah, the Queens(n)in Binah, the Knights ("0 in 
Tiphareth and the Princesses (n) in Malkuth. Actually, however, the Court Cards 
relate to the entire Tree, and not just selected Sephiroth (Figure 12). 

The Hebrew alphabet is based on the form of the letter Yod CO. This 
refers to the idea that the entire universe derives from that which is symbolized 
by the Yod. Yod ultimately relates to Kether, an idea which Mathers suggests as 
Yod I. But it is not until the formation of the Sephira Chokmah that what we 
understand as the outpouring Yod force of the universe, the Fiery masculine 
energy, is separated out and activated. Thus, for practical purposes, the Yod is 

The Qabalah 45 

Figure 11. Attribution of the Minor Arcana to the Tree of Life 

attributed to Chokmah, and the Heh, the watery feminine principle, is 
attributed to Binah. Vau is referred to Tiphareth, but it actually encompasses 
all of the Sephiroth under the Supernal Triangle, except Malkuth, i.e., those six 
Sephiroth to which Tiphareth is central, Geburah, Chesed, Netzach, Hod and 
Yesod. And when the hidden Sephira, Daath, is considered, a perfect circle is 
formed around Tiphareth. 

By this point it should be obvious that applying the Tarot to the 
Qabalistic Tree of Life involves some difficult stretches of language, but the 
effort to understand these attributions will be well rewarded. While one may feel 
frustrated, if not inundated, by all of these definitions, it is important to realize 

46 The Qabalistic Tarot 

Figure 12. The Court Cards on the Tree of Life 

that definition is what the Qabalah is all about. It is a very clear and precise 
system, verbal smokescreens of the early Qabalists notwithstanding. 

Insofar as the numbered and Court Cards of the Sephiroth are called the 
Minor Arcana (Arcana means secret), they may appear to be of less importance 
than the Major Arcana or Trump cards. They are, however, of the greatest 
significance in that they symbolize the real potencies in ourselves and in the 
universe, with which we strive to come into conscious contact. 

If the Suits (Sephiroth) appear subordinate to the Trumps (Paths), it is 
for two reasons. First, the Tarot is a teaching device intended to assist in the 
subjective journey of consciousness from one objective center of energy to 

The Tree of Life in Three Dimensions (“In a Solid Sphere”). 

The Qabalah 47 

another. It may be the chariot which carries us down the road from one inner city 
to the next. Thus the Paths, while ultimately less important than the Sephiroth, 
are the primary focus of the Tarot deck. Second, as the cards are used for 
divination, they describe forces in transition which have brought about past 
events, function in the present, and have the potential to create future events. 
This might best be understood by considering the idea that we are all in a 
continual state of travelling the Paths. It is an unconscious process for most, but 
a conscious one for those pursuing the Mysteries. Moreover, we are uncon- 
sciously travelling many Paths at the same “moment.” Our limiting concepts 
of time, space and form do not apply. 

As has been previously suggested, the choice of consciously travelling 
the Paths, one by one, has the effect of speeding up what would otherwise be a 
normal course of development. It also has the effect of speeding up the course of 
karmic action, so that one who becomes involved with the Tarot for the purpose 
of learning about himself and his universe, may suffer some serious personal 
problems at the onset. The reason for this is that a number of karmic debts are 
paid off at once and the “board cleared” of some major impediments to 

The Tarot is best used for divination about mundane matters. It is not 
particularly well-suited for furnishing answers of an important spiritual nature 
because it is rooted in Yetzirah, although one brings down insight from higher 
worlds in interpretation. 


The Aces relate to the Primordial Elements found in Kether, and the 
very root of the fnn>. As Crowley stated, “The point to remember is that, 
both in their appearance and in their meaning, the Aces are not the elements 
themselves but the seeds of those elements.” When the Tree of Life is projected 
into a solid sphere, they are placed at the North Pole, above the Princesses, 
which are called the “Thrones” of the Aces. The Golden Dawn taught that the 
Aces govern the revolution of the Universe, and act as a link between Yetzirah, 
the Formative World, and our material plane. 

Casual readers of the original Golden Dawn documents on Tarot may be 
confused by the order in which the cards, numbered two through ten, are 
presented. Unlike other systems, which describe these cards in a simple 
numerical sequence, the Golden Dawn described them in terms of the Decans of 
the Zodiac. This was an astrological scheme developed by Ptolemy in ancient 

The Zodiac, a flat disc (360°), is divided into 36 sections of 10° each. 
Thus, each of the twelve houses of the Zodiac has three Decans, and each Decan 
is a minor card of the Tarot. These same divisions are days of the year, so that 
each individual may be assigned one of the Minor cards on the basis of birth 

48 The Qabalistic Tarot 

The primary symbolism of the Zodiac is of Houses, and Planets. The 
Houses are simply 30° divisions of the Zodiac, each of which has one of the 
twelve Signs naturally attached to it (Fig. 13). Aries is the first House, Taurus 
the second House, Gemini the third, etc. So, each Sign has three Decans, each 
ruled by a different planet. The activity of a Planet in a Sign is so specific as to 
be illustrated as a Tarot card. 

ft LEO 


Figure 13. The Signs of the Zodiac in the Twelve Houses 

Another confusing element is that the Decans begin, not with the first 
Sign, Aries, but with Leo. The first degree of Leo related to the star Regulus, 
sometimes called Cor Leonis (“The Royal King Star of the Heart of the Lion”). 
The Golden Dawn taught that the commencement of the Zodiac at 0° Aries was 
arbitrary, and returned to the very ancient system where the Zodiac begins at 0° 
Leo. Thus, the first of the Decans is the FIVE OF WANDS, a dynamic, fiery 

Moreover, the system of only seven Planets (referred to as the “Old 
Planets”) was developed before the discovery of Neptune, Uranus and Pluto, 
and considered the Moon, itself, a Planet. This latter idea may be dismissed as 
representing the ignorance of ancient science. But in terms of the profound and 
subtle influence exerted by the Moon on our Earth, it is an appropriate 
description. Planets are attributed to the Decans in a sequence repeated five 
times: 1) Mars, 2) The Sun, 3) Venus, 4) Mercury, 5) The Moon, 6) Saturn, 7) 
Jupiter. Yet there is one difficulty. To quote from the Book T: “There being only 
36 Decanates and only seven Planets, it follows that one of the latter must rule 
over one more decanate than the others. This is the Planet Mars which is 
allotted the last Decan of Pisces and first of Aries, because the long cold of the 
winter requires a great energy to overcome it and initiate spring.” Figure 14 
shows the Minor cards as they relate to these astrological configurations. 

The Qabalah 49 

<f MARS 
® SUN 

Figure 14. The Decans, subdivisions of the Signs of the Zodiac. Outermost ring: the 
small cards of the Tarot applied to the Decans; Intermediate ring: Planets applied to the 
Decans, rulership of the small cards, 

The Minor cards carry two interchangeable sets of symbolism. They 
represent Planets in the Signs of the Zodiac; they also represent aspects of 
individual Sephiroth in the Four Worlds. 

To each Minor Card and Decan is attributed a pair of angels, one of 
whom rules the day and the other the night. So each card represents a duality. 
Here again we return to the idea that the cards are rooted in Yetzirah, the world 
of Angels, as opposed to the Archangels of Briah or the Gods of Atziluth. The 
cards are Astral images, illustrating the world of matter below, and symboli- 
cally reflecting the worlds of mind and spirit above. For example, the TWO OF 
WANDS relates to Chokmah in Atziluth, as does the KING OF WANDS. But 
neither card is precisely the same as the Chokmah in Atziluth upon which one 
calls with the God Name Ja. The TWO OF WANDS may be said to represent the 
effect in Yetzirah of the power of Chokmah in Atziluth, as the KING OF 
WANDS personifies the action of Fire of Fire in Yetzirah. Yetzirah is the 
Formative World through which higher principles pass down into our lives. It is 
a world of images reflected from above and below, which explains why the Tarot 
works so well for divination. 

No doubt many will be completely lost at this point. But the Qabalah 
involves a necessarily complex shuffling of words. The more deeply one goes 
into the definitions, sub-definitions, super-definitions, pluperfect and platitu- 

50 The Qabalistic Tarot 

dinal definitions, the more one is touching on areas where no words can apply. 
The very effort to find meaning in this maze of ideas is important because it is 
an expression of commitment. The greatest protection of the Mysteries today, 
the methods of which have been published openly, is that the early intellectual 
and meditational exercises are inordinately boring. Few will ever be so serious 
about the Qabalah as to wade devotedly through its sea of convoluted words. 
Most will give up quickly, a point thrown here as a gauntlet for those who enjoy 
real challenges. 

Having said this, a further complication will be added, which is the fact 
that each of the forty Sephiroth of the Four Worlds contains a complete Tree of 
Life of its own, so that there are actually four hundred Sephiroth in all. 

Finally, relative to the Minor Cards, it should be understood that the two 
angels of each numbered card are specific to that card, and the administration 
of its specific energies. If one were to skry with one of these cards, which is 
perfectly legitimate, one would first invoke the protection and guidance of the 
God and Archangel of the related Sephira, then the Angels. 


MacGregor Mathers described the Court Cards as being not on the 
Sephiroth, but beside them. Here he apparently intended to suggest that these 
cards are not purely integral to the Sephiroth, but are extensions of their 
qualities. The Court Cards represent the Elemental powers of the Tetra- 
grammaton, mrp , in the Four Worlds. They personify the attributes of the 
Specific Elements (refer again to Figure 10) and, as such, generally represent 
real people when they appear in a divination. Where this is not the case, they 
mean an event or situation having a certain personality. It may also be said 
that the Court Cards represent decision, on our own part or on the part of others. 
It is the decision of individuals (or the result of situations brought about by 
individual decision) which bring into effect the blind forces represented by the 
cards of the Tarot numbered two through ten. So that when a Court Card comes 
up in a divination, it suggests a human controlling factor. The Trumps usually 
represent karmic forces also manipulative of the numbered minor cards. To 
reiterate: In divination the Court Cards are the choices of men, the Trumps are 
the choices of the Gods (although at a more complex level, these are our own 
choices, too) and the small cards are the forces brought into play. Of course any 
card of the deck may be a clear reference to an individual. 

Like the Minor Cards, the Court Cards may also be referred to the 
Zodiac. The Kings, Queens and Princes stand behind the Decans, while the 
Princesses are said to “link together the Signs.” The Aces through Tens and the 
Court Cards may be placed on a composite diagram (Figure 15), but this scheme 
is a simplistic attempt to show relationships which are actually three- 
dimensional, and refer to the Earth and its two magnetic poles. The complete 
system of attribution of the Tarot to the Tree of Life in a Solid Sphere is to be 
found in Regardie’s Golden Dawn. 

The Qabalah 51 

Figure 15. Attribution of the Minor Cards and the Court Cards to the Zodiac. Innermost 
circle: the Signs and Houses of the Zodiac; Second ring: small cards of the Tarot; Third 
ring: days of the year attributed to the Decans; Fourth ring: Kings, Queens and Princes 
on the Zodiac; Fifth ring: technically, in three dimensions above the Kings, Queens and 
Princes; Outer ring: the Aces. These are, when this scheme is considered in a three- 
dimensional sphere, at the North Pole of the earth above the Princesses. 

Patterns of the Sephiroth 

1. KETHER: The Crown 
The Four Aces 

□ All that Is; the Breath of That 
which Is Not 

□ The Source of Energy from the 
Infinite Unmanifest 

□ The First “Motion” 

□ God the Creator 

□ That from Which we come, and 
to Which we shall return 

Symbols: Crown, Point, Swas- 

Color: White 

In Kether is the Divine White Brilliance, the scintillation and 
corruscation of the Divine Glory— that light which lighteth the 
universe — that light which surpasseth the glory of the Sun and 
beside which the light of mortals is but darkness, and concerning 
which it is not fitting that we should speak more fully. And the 
sphere of its operation is called Rashith ha-Gilgalim —the 
beginning of whirling, the Primum Mobile or First Mover, which 
bestoweth the gift of life in all things and filleth the whole 
Universe. And Eheieh is the name of the Divine Essence in 
Kether; and its Archangel is the Prince of Countenances— 
Metatron, he who bringeth forth others before the face of God. 
And the Name of its Order of Angels is called Chaioth ha- 
Qadesh, the Holy Living Creatures which are also called the 
Order of Seraphim . 63 

54 The Qabalistic Tarot 

All of the Sephiroth must be approached intellectually before some 
intuition about their natures begins to develop. One begins with a study of the 
symbols attached to each Sephira. Such symbols transcend language. More- 
over, one symbol may suggest something about another symbol, thus creating a 
general picture of the energy in question. It is impossible to know Kether, as it is 
said that man cannot look upon the face of God and live. Yet we can establish 
some principles about Kether through its symbols, such as the Point. It may be 
said that Kether is the point, and that is true. But the Point is not Kether, it is 
merely an idea, a focus of reference for our thoughts about Kether. 

The interrelationship of symbols provides the best instruction, for each 
symbol describes a specific aspect of a Sephira. In Kether, these are the Crown, 
the Point and the Swastica. This latter is one of the oldest symbols of the 
Ultimate Godhead, unfortunately attached to the positive evil of Nazism in an 
age past. 

The first symbol of Kether is the Crown. Our anthropomorphic 
perspective may lead us to the idea that the directing force is within our heads, 
but the Qabalah places that force above. The distinction is a significant one, 
indicating that the Holy Guiding Spirit is a crowning glory to which we may 
aspire, and an energy to which the mental processes of our brain are 
subordinate. The Crown, in the microcosm, is our Essential Spirit. In the 
macrocosm it rests above the head of Adam Kadmon, the Archetypal Man of the 
Zohar who symbolizes the entire manifest Universe. Kether is the Crown above 
Creation, but it is also that from which all creation springs. For this reason, 
another of its prime symbols is the Point. 

The Point is complete unto itself, without dimensions or external 
definition. It represents total Unity. It is the seed from which the Universe 
grows. Ultimately, all is Kether, and each of the Sephiroth emanating 
successively from Kether are crystallizations of the latent aspects of the One. 
The journey of manifestation begins and ends with Kether. It is the Kether of 
Atziluth to which we aspire, and into which the manifest Universe will 
eventually withdraw. 

We begin the process of accelerating our own spiritual development, or 
return, by the invocation of our own Kether. This Kether unconsciously guides 
and directs us. The very act of calling attention to the “Light above our heads” 
brings about a subtle activity on the Inner Planes. It is a conscious affirmation 
of the Personality in manifestation of its mutability, and that the source of all 
true life is above. As the very universe begins and ends with Kether, so all work 
of spiritual development, whether meditative or ritualistic, must begin with an 
invocation of the Highest. The God name in Kether is Eheieh, meaning I WILL 
BE, a name which has been likened in its sound and meaning to breath. 

To the Point is attributed the number 1 which, mathematically, has the 
potential for all other numbers, by simple addition. If we take the number 1 and 
place another number 1 beside it, we have 2. If we take a third 1, we have three 
ones, i.e., 3. This idea may appear so obvious as to be inane, until we begin to 
meditate on the concept of simple numbers and simple geometry. What do we 

Patterns of the Sephiroth 55 

know, for example, that could be considered pure one, which is totally 
indivisible? Numbers are the most pure form of symbol and are of great 
importance in the Qabalistic scheme of things. No student who has pursued 
Ouspensky’s Tertium Organum 64 through its profound discussion of dimen- 
sions would dispute that. 

While Kether is symbolized by the Point and the number One, it is not 
static. In Assiah (the material world) it is also the “First Swirlings” of 
manifestation. So a third descriptive idea is attached. That is the Swastica 
representing vital, swirling motion around the point. It is self-contained, but in 

The Swastica has four arms, representing the four latent aspects of the 
m D’ , the Primordial Elements. It is not trinitarian. These are the energies 
which, unified in Kether, are finally differentiated into the four Base Elements 
of Malkuth, called the Bride of Microprosopus. Malkuth is Kether on the lowest 
arc, and defines the principle of “As above, so below.” The Swastica is the 
perfect symbol for the Primordial Elements because if the arms are imagined in 
motion, like the blades of a fan, each is indistinguishable from the other. As the 
Elements are represented in Malkuth, on the Tree of Life, they are sharply 

“As above, so below” is a principle which states, in essence, that 
Malkuth, the densest development of the universe, is equally holy as the source. 
Fundamentalists, finding the physical world evil, per se, are misguided 

This question of evil is best approached in dealing with Kether because 
this is the sole area of the Tree of Life where no evil exists. It is the Holy of 
Holies, having no opposing energies within it. 

Evil is unbalanced is a by-product of evolution, resulting from a 
stage of temporary imbalance in one Sephira, prior to the mitigating emergence 
of another. That is the Qabalistic theory: at each point of evolution is left an 
extreme of a specific energy. 

Evil is an extreme. It attempts to pull to one side, making balance 
impossible. Unity is the ultimate good, and unity is the result of the balance of 
two opposites. For example: Geburah is dynamic strength, and its opposite, 
Chesed, is Mercy or Love. The extreme of Geburah is hideous cruelty. The 
extreme of Chesed is the worst kind of weakness manifesting as bigotry and 

Dion Fortune makes the point that there are two kinds of evil, positive 
and negative. Negative evil is not so much a matter of choice as unbalanced 
temperament. But positive evil involves willfully espousing an unbalanced force 
for some sort of self-gain . 65 

Each Sephira has its unbalanced aspect, and a system of named 
Demons, as it has its God Names and Angelic forms, known as the Qlippoth. 
These are extremes which are also found in each individual, in varying degrees, 
and which the Qabalah serves as a method of first defining, and then bringing 
under control. It is for this reason that a system such as that of Abramelin 

56 The Qabalistic Tarot 

invokes both the good and evil forces. One is viewed as no better than the other, 
since they are both an integral part of All. There is no value judgment, only the 
desire to understand and bring under the control of balance. This is the 
meaning of the warring families of the Bhagavad Gita. They are the component 
parts of the personality which is, literally, at war with itself until the battle is 
resolved through the intermediary of the Higher Self (Krishna in this work) and 
peace restored. 

The ultimate peace and unity of Kether is represented by a special 
anthropomorphic symbol known as a Magical Image. Such an image is given 
for each of the Sephiroth, and has been built up over the centuries by meditative 
work on the inner planes. These images are, along with the applicable symbols, 
points of contact with the energies of the Sephiroth. In the case of Kether, the 
image is that of an Ancient Bearded King Seen in Profile. This is a crowned and 
white-bearded head, seen from the right side, its left being unknown to us, as it 
borders on the Unmanifest. 

As the Aces are attributed to Kether, they represent the most pure forms 
of energy, subject to elaboration as the Sephiroth (symbolized by the other 
numbered cards of the Tarot) consecutively emerge to form a complete World. 
Each is unique and distinct in the degree of its density and in its specific type of 
energy. Thus, when any Ace appears in a divination, it stands for great power. 

Finally, it must be reiterated that while the Kether which is the Source of 
all is a quality which cannot be known to us, it is a quality which we can 
symbolize to some extent. It is intriguing to consider the idea of eternity, an 
effort which tends to underscore the very frailty of the system of definitions 
within which we necessarily function. We may be able to deal with the idea that 
the division between matter and spirit is artificial, or even a concept of 
intelligence which is totally formless, but our concept of time falls hard! We 
suppose that if God is not finite, he must be infinite. And yet, we are told that 
none of our human concepts can begin to apply to Kether, and infinite is a 
human concept. There is a large degree of faith required here, and an open mind 
which asks questions fearlessly until answers emerge. 


First in order of appearance are the four Aces, representing the 
force of the Spirit acting in, and binding together the four scales 
of each element and answering to the Dominion of the Letters of 
the Name in the Kether of each. They represent the Radical or 
Root-Force. The Four Aces are said to be placed on the North 
Pole of the Universe, wherein they revolve, governing its 
revolution, and ruling as the connecting link between Yetzirah 
and the Material Plane of the Universe . 66 

Patterns of the Sephiroth 57 

Note: This sequence of illustrations - Golden Dawn (1890), Crowley (1944), Waite (1910), 
and Marseilles (1748) decks -is followed throughout the text. 

THE ACE OF WANDS, Root of the Powers of Fire ( 7 ). 

This card represents the primary outpouring energy of the universe. It is 
the Kether of Atziluth, the influence of Kether on the level of pure Spirit. In the 
Golden Dawn card an angelic hand holds what is basically an inverted root of 
three sections (possibly influenced by the Tree of Life diagram published by 
Fludd). The ten root sections are painted with bands in the colors of the ten 
Sephiroth in the Four Worlds. The sigils on the three parts are drawn from the 
Rose Cross Lament using the letters UN (Aesch, Fire), D’n (Maim, Water) 
and ,Yn (Ruach, Air). The twenty-two Yods are the Paths on the Tree of Life. 
The Marseilles deck is probably the source of these Yods, although there the 
number seems arbitrary. 

The Waite card shows the club as living and bearing leaves, a reference 
which is intentionally phallic. Crowley’s Ace abstracts the flaming Yods into 
the form of the entire Tree of Life, thus continuing the Golden Dawn symbolism 
of the Ace of Wands as the source of All. 

Here it may also be observed that the entire Tree is a glyph of the power 
of Fire, when manifestation is symbolized as the inn> .permeated by ty.Yod 
and Shin are, to some extent, used interchangeably. 

THE ACE OF CUPS, Root of the Powers of Water ( n ). 

The Ace of Cups is Kether in Briah, the influence of Kether on the 
mental level. This is an all-encompassing Maternal Force, symbolized by Water 
which in the Golden Dawn and Waite cards pours dynamically from the Cup, 
but becomes calm and stable beneath. The Golden Dawn represents the 
unfolding of Divine Consciousness with the Lotus colored red to suggest that 
the origin of this consciousness is in Fire. Waite, on the other hand, shows the 
Cup as the perfection and formalization of the mrp evolving toward matter. 
The twenty-six drops of water coming from the Cup mean the mn>, a 

58 The Qabalistic Tarot 

number derived by Gematria as we will later demonstrate. The Dove here is a 
symbol of Venus as the Great Mother, beneath which is the circle and equal- 
armed cross of the earth which she produces. This symbol was incidentally, 
adopted by Dion Fortune to represent her Society of the Inner Light. 

Crowley’s version of the card emphasizes the wave action characteristic 
of physical water, but here meaning the activity which encloses and directs pure 
consciousness. The Cup emerges from the Lotus itself. 

The Marseilles Ace is the most basic of the three versions, and appears 
to be nothing more than a simple chalice. Yet the suggestion of Gothic 
architecture tells us that what is intended is The Church, as Holy Mother. In the 
fourteenth century the Virgin Mary was often referred to as the Church itself, 
the very building which enclosed the faithful. That symbolism is completely 
consistent with the meaning of the Ace of Cups. 

THE ACE OF SWORDS, Root of the Powers of Air ( 1 ). 

The card is Kether in Yetzirah, the influence of Kether in the Astral 
World, the world of fleeting forms. This is a potent card which can be either 

Patterns of the Sephiroth 59 

extremely good or extremely evil. It represents force which is invoked, rather 
than the natural force of the ACE OF WANDS. This is a force called upon. 

When the Kether energies are seen on the Astral level they are both 
dynamic and erratic, having the potential to be applied at will to different 
situations. Thus, this is described as the “Sword of Good or Evil,” of “Whirling 
force and strength through trouble. It is the affirmation of justice upholding 
Divine Authority; and it may become the Sword of Wrath, Punishment and 
Affliction .” 68 

The style for most versions of this card relates to the Marseilles version, 
showing the Sword of Air, passing through the Crown of Kether. Dual 
possibilities for action are implied in the palm of suffering, and the olive branch 
of peace. The six Vaus above the Golden Dawn crown mean Tiphareth, the 
Ruach (Air) center of the Tree of Life. 

THE ACE OF PENTACLES, Root of the Powers of Earth ( P ). 

This Ace represents Kether in Assiah, the influence of Kether in the 
World of Matter. It is a card of materiality which may, like the ACE OF 
SWORDS, be either good or evil. It is not necessarily a card of wealth, and 
should be compared with the TEN OF PENTACLES. 

The Marseilles card is extremely simple, and relates to the ancient suit of 
Coins, money being considered the essence of material things. Waite’s version 
also features a coin, but this is really a Pentacle, magical symbol of earth, held 
above a flowing garden of pure lilies. The hand floats in the air, suggesting that 
it is that which brings about the fruition of matter, rather than being matter 

In the Golden Dawn card an angelic hand holds a Rose Tree surmounted 
by a Pentacle of five concentric circles. The outermost circles are in the colors of 
Malkuth: citrine, olive, russet and black. These are the four Base Elements, 
shown to be in perfect balance by the red equal-armed cross. The twelve white 
rays are the forces of the Zodiac, expressed through the Elements of Earth. The 

60 The Qabalistic Tarot 

four roses also represent the Elements, but the addition of two buds implies the 
very fertility of these Elements in their subtle earthly balance. The winged Red 
Cross refers to the Primordial Elements of Kether. It is winged to show that the 
Elements pass through the state of Spiritual Air before manifesting into matter. 

Crowley’s card apparently represents the wings of the four Archangels 
(Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and Auriel) whose powers serve to balance one 
another, and create stability. At the center is Crowley’s personal phallus symbol 
and the number of the Beast of Revelation, 666, with which he identified. In the 
wheel are Greek words meaning “to the mark of the beast,” another indicator 
that Crowley chose this particular card as his own. 

2. CHOKMAH: Wisdom 
The Four Twos, 

The Four Kings 

□ The Supernal Father 

□ The Will to Force 

□ Dynamic Outpouring Energy, 

Unorganized and Uncompensa- 

□ The Great Stimulator 

□ The First Positive 

Symbols: The Phallus, the Line, 


Astrological Reference: The 

Sphere of the Zodiac 
Color: Grey 

In Chokmah is a cloud-like grey which containeth various 
colours and is mixed with them, like a transparent pearl-hued 
mist, yet radiating withal, as if behind it there was a brilliant 
glory. And the Sphere of its influence is in Masloth, the Starry 
Heaven, wherein it disposeth the forms of things. And Yah is the 
Divine Ideal Wisdom, and its Archangel is Ratziel, the Prince of 
Princes of the knowledge of hidden and concealed things, and 
the name of its Order of Angels is Auphanium, the Wheels or the 
Whirling Forces which are also called the order of Kerubim. 

Many of our present-day notions of sexuality are still rooted in the 
Victorian era, when sex was considered almost unnatural. It was, at best, not to 
be discussed in polite company. Today we are coming, increasingly, to 
understand that what has been described as the “mystery of sex” is aptly 
termed, and that the ability to manipulate the sexual currents in one’s own body 

Patterns of the Sephiroth 61 

was among the greatest secrets of the ancient magicians. It is no coincidence 
that the ecstasies of visionaries such as Saint Theresa or Saint John of the 
Cross are described in words that seem explicitly sexual and orgasmic. 

Sexual repression, or discomfort with one’s own sexuality (and here we 
are neither discussing nor advocating any particular pattern of behavior) is a 
serious impediment to any understanding of the inner worlds. 

The male generative organ (The Phallus, or Lingham) is the key symbol 
of Chokmah, and the first differentiation of the One. It is the primary quality of 
maleness at the most abstract level, and representative of the Supernal Father 
emanating from the Godhead. From Chokmah emerges Binah, the Supernal 

Students of scripture will quickly note the parallels here with the story of 
Adam and Eve as described in the Book of Genesis. God created first Man, by 
molding him from dust and breathing his own breath into his creation. Eve, the 
first woman, was created from the rib of the first man. The uniting of male and 
female gave rise to the race of men after they were driven from the Garden of 

One can, symbolically, take the Garden of Eden to be the Supernal 
Triangle itself. The male and female energies, balanced against each other, 
evolve in increasing density as they develop toward the lowest aspects of the 
Tree of Life, far from the Supernal Heights. The first book of the Bible has been 
described as an extremely complex Qabalistic cryptogram, where every letter of 
every Hebrew word, as well as its numerical value, has a specific and hidden 
meaning. But interpretations of this sort are more the appropriate concern of 
the theologian. Few students possess the language and research skills to deal 
with the Qabalah in this way. Nor is this a practical necessity, since 
understanding the Qabalah (though the study begins with the intellect) is 
ultimately a spiritual process. As we focus our intellectual attention on the signs 
and symbols of the Tree of Life we find that we are developing an intangible 
appreciation of the energies which are described. And, as we have indicated, 
number is among the most important of the symbols with which we have to be 
concerned. In the case of Chokmah, that number is two. 

The number two symbolizes the balance of opposites underlying all of 
material existence. Thus does “Perfect Harmony” describe the Chokmah of 
Atziluth, the TWO OF WANDS. Chokmah is the impetus for all manifestation, 
as opposed to Kether, from which that impetus derives and which is the “Root.” 
In the Mundane Chakra, it is the Sphere of the Zodiac, as Binah is the planet 

While Kether is ultimately androgynous, Chokmah is the idea of 
maleness and Binah is the idea of femaleness. We use the term idea here since at 
the exalted realm of the Supernal Triangle, there can be no sexuality as we 
understand it in our sphere of sensation. Maleness is described as a vital 
outpouring energy, which is organized, i.e., limited or formalized, by the 
qualities of femaleness. In the Qabalah these principles are referred to the Yod 
(Male) and the Heh (Female). Their offspring is the Vau of the Divine Name, 
attributed to the six lower Sephiroth to which Tiphareth is central. 

62 The Qabalistic Tarot 

There are so many interchangeable symbols in the Qabalah that the 
system may appear to be more complicated than it actually is. But this concept 
of vital outpouring energy which, in intercourse with an organizing force, 
produces something else, is essential. For example, the Hebrew letter Heh 
applies to Binah, but as the oldest of the Planets is also applied, another 
suggestion is involved. For Saturn “devours its children.” The meaning here is 
two-fold: first that death is implicit in birth; second, and at a deeper level, that 
the Universe itself, the pattern of interwoven energies resulting from the 
balance of Chokmah and Binah, will eventually withdraw inwards along the 
same course through which it evolved. 

The mysteries of the number two must be viewed as the interaction 
between opposites, found throughout the Tree of Life, and originated in the 
opposition of Chokmah and Binah. This involves fluid polarities, such as 
anabolism and catabolism (building up and tearing down), waxing and waning, 
life and death, etc. However, these opposites are not static. They are not pure 
and immobile positive against pure and immobile negative, held opposite one 
another in a sort of celestial check-mate. There is a constant growth and 
movement. As change occurs in the energy of one Sephira, there is a natural 
balancing response in its opposite, an effect which is seen dramatically as the 
Sephiroth are applied to aspects of the microcosm. There is a continual 
interchange which might be likened to the breathing in and out suggested by 
the Divine Name of Kether, Eheieh, which sets the pattern for all beneath it. 

The key to all systems, and to the Universal Pattern, is Chokmah, which 
may be considered the only “reality” as opposed to Kether, which is not. One 
can conceptualize the Universe as Non-Being (Kether) and Being (Chokmah). It 
is rather like an electrical switch which is turned off in Kether and turned on in 
Chokmah. The power is potential in Kether, but it does not begin to function 
until the switch is turned on. 

To understand how this works, let us imagine ourselves “switched on” in 
Chokmah, in a state of deep meditation, with the reality of our current existence 
welling up in our minds. We dream ourselves, yet that which is dreamed is 
unaware of the dreamer. Here is what is meant by the Chinese story of a man 
who dreams he is a butterfly, but on waking wonders if he is actually a butterfly 
dreaming that he is a man. 

That we meditate ourselves, like a dream inside out, is the ultimate fact 
of our earthly existence. The inner “I” dreams what we perceive ourselves to be 
in life; we, as such, do not exist, an idea which may be very frightening to some 
and exhilerating to others. 

Now this dream of life of ours has some very specific dimensions, or 
whatever they may be called. Such dimensions are usually described in spatial 
terms because that is our best frame of reference. The Qabalah describes an 
evolution downwards from Chokmah, and various levels of the self-dream 
which are the symbolic Sephiroth. Other systems explain these levels of self as 
sheaths developing outward from the “I” (Monad, Supreme Spiritual Self, etc.) 
which does the meditating. Some of the most complex discussions of these 
sheafs are given by Alice Bailey. Another who attempts an explanation is Dion 

Patterns of the Sephiroth 63 

Fortune, author of The Cosmic Doctrine. Such systems, however, appear so 
obtuse as to be unapproachable by all but a very few. 

Yet when the Universal Patterns are glibly called “so simple that they 
could be explained to a child,” two ideas are intended: First, what we have 
described as dreaming our own existences. And second, that we are all, 
collectively, what is known as God, but are not aware of it. The loss of our sense 
of oneness with the Divine, however this may have happened, is the symbolic 
Fall (again, a spatial reference to going “downwards”). 

These two concepts are, at first, understood intellectually (the “Vision of 
the Machinery of the Universe” of Yesod). Then the intellectual work turns into 
a profound inner understanding. We surpass thought and begin to function 
consciously with our inner dream-maker. Here it may be appreciated that when 
the Dreamer and the Dreamed (as we know ourselves) begin to cooperate, we 
acquire a control over what happens to our lives that is truly extraordinary. We 
can have anything we want. . . anything. But what happens is that we want 
nothing at all, because we have learned what matters and what does not. 


The Four Deuces symbolize the Powers of the King and Queen: 
first uniting and initiating the Force, but before the Prince and 
Princess are thoroughly brought into action. Therefore do they 
generally imply the initiation and fecundation of a thing. 

TWO OF WANDS, Lord of Dominion (Mars in Aries). 

Angels of the Decan: Vehooel (bNim) and Deneyal (btf’:n). 

Chokmah in Atziluth, the influence of Chokmah in the World of Pure 
Spirit. In the Atziluthic realm, the fiery male force is on its own ground, so to 
speak, and is in a completely harmonious state. The fiery planet Mars rules the 
fiery sign Aries, a tremendous force which Crowley symbolizes with two crossed 
Dorjes, Tibetan symbol of the thunderbolt. Here we understand that the 

64 The Qabalistic Tarot 

energies are balanced making this powerful card one of stable strength and 

To the crossed Wand pattern, established by the Marseilles deck, the 
Golden Dawn added an angelic hand. The original Golden Dawn cards included 
the astrological signs found on the Crowley cards, here Mars and Aries, the 
decision having been made to eliminate them for publication. 

Waite’s card shows a man surveying his kingdom, a mnemonic device 
intended to benefit those who are using the cards primarily for divination, 
showing only one aspect of the card’s meaning, Dominion. 

TWO OF CUPS, Lord of Love (Venus in Cancer). 

Angels of the Decan: Ayoel and Chabooyah (n» inn) . 

This is Chokmah in Briah, the influence of Chokmah in the Mental 
World. Cancer is a watery sign, so Cups apply. This is a card of feeling and 
romance (particularly in material things) which has the potential for energy 
misspent. Fish, generally, refer to the Goddess Venus, the Dolphin relating 
more specifically to Neptune and the Sun God Apollo . 69 On the Golden Dawn 
card the Solar (male) symbolism is implicit in the gold color of one Dolphin, 
while the silver in the other is Lunar (female). They work together to bring light 
to our world, which is also the nature of the sign Cancer, and reinforces the 
meaning of the card as a harmony of male and female. The water springs from a 
pure source, the upper Lotus, and pours down into the cups, ultimately reaching 
our material earth. The idea is that Water ( n ) can only flow through the energy 
provided by the Chokmah-Fire ( ■» ). It is a joyous and loving partnership. 

The Crowley card is based entirely on that of the Golden Dawn. And in 
the Marseilles card we find the apparent design roots of both. 

In his exoteric version, Waite emphasizes the divinatory meaning of 
love, marriage and partnership . 10 

Patterns of the Sephiroth 65 

TWO OF SWORDS, Lord of Peace Restored (Moon in Libra). 

Angels of the Decan: Yezalel ((?tdu’) and Mebahel 

This is Chokmah in Yetzirah, the influence of Chokmah in the Astral 
World. Swords are generally negative and destructive, but the balancing effect 
of Chokmah makes this a positive card. Swords, which might otherwise be 
clashing, hold together a flower in both the Golden Dawn and Crowley cards: 
The Golden Dawn uses the Venusian red rose of peace; Crowley chose a five- 
petaled lotus. Balance is affirmed by the cross of light behind which, on 
Crowley’s card, implies that this is the balance of active energies. 

The divinatory meaning is suggested by the position of the Moon in 
Libra. The Moon is a very changeable and erratic planet which assumes some 
stability in Libra. The effect is one of subtlety, grace and compromise. So in 
divination, this card means a quarrel made up and arranged, the restoration of 
peace. Waite’s card implies all of this, but also indicates the underlying tension 
which Crowley shows in his swirling forms behind the Swords. The truce here 
may be somewhat tenuous. 

TWO OF PENTACLES, Lord of Harmonious Change (Jupiter in Capricorn). 
Angels of the Decan: Lekabel (iJKDDt?) and Veshiriah (rp-uyi). 

This is Chokmah in Assiah, the influence of Chokmah in the material 
world. Jupiter, a very benevolent Planet in traditional astrology, is not well 
placed in the Sign of Capricorn, meaning that its good influence can only be 
exerted as an organizer. It assures the harmony of an interaction of dualities 
inherent in the Chokmah energy as it applies to earth. What was a perfectly 
unified energy in Atziluth, is now a completely expressed duality; energies in 

Once more it appears that the Marseilles card is the pattern for the three 
modem cards, the later versions having simply closed the “S” shape into a 
perfect symbol of infinity. The Snake with its tail in its mouth, the Uroboros, is 
a very ancient symbol of wisdom (meaning of the Hebrew word Chokmah ). But 

66 The Qabalistic Tarot 

this serpent is in the form of a figure eight, the same infinity sign found over the 
head of THE MAGICIAN. In divination it means the harmony of change. But 
in esoteric studies, it suggests the underlying patterns of alternation in all 
matter, and the profound relationship between opposites. 


The Four kings or Figures mounted on Steeds [Golden Dawn and 
Crowley versions] represent the Yod forces in the name of each 
suit, the Radix, Father and commencement of Material Forces. A 
Force in which all the others are implied and of which they form 
the development and completion. A force swift and violent in 
action, but whose effect soon passes away, and therefore 
symbolized by a figure on a steed riding swiftly, and clothed in 
complete armour. 


Patterns of the Sephiroth 67 

KING OF WANDS, Lord of the Flame and of the Lightning, King of the Spirits 
of Fire, King of the Salamanders. (Last Decan of Scorpio -first two Decans of 
Saggitarius). The King of Wands is Fire of Fire, Specific Fire in Primal Fire on 
the Tree of Life. 

The Marseilles King is seated on a throne, and holds a wand in his right 
hand. Waite’s King is also seated, and holds the same fertile Wand found in the 
Rider Ace of Wands. His crown indicates flames, as the Serpents behind and on 
his robe refer to Chokmah. 

The Golden Dawn and Crowley cards symbolize the dynamic, out- 
rushing, pattern of this energy with the Moorish (Arabian) black horse which 
leaps through the flames. The King’s crest is a winged horse head. Like all of the 
Golden Dawn court cards, he is in armor, implying that the qualities of the 
Elements which they symbolize do life’s battle for us. In his hand he carries the 
same wand found on the Ace, showing that he is the motive vehicle for the Fire 

KING OF CUPS, Lord of the Waves and of the Waters, King of the Hosts of the 
Sea, King of Undines and Nymphs (Last Decan of Aquarius - first two Decans 
of Pisces). The King of Cups is Specific Fire in the World of Primal Water. It is a 
personification of the force which motivates the currents of the unconscious 
mental world symbolized by Water, an idea found in Waite’s King, whose heavy 
throne seems to ride effortlessly on the Water as does the Golden Dawn figure. 
That King carries a Cup from which issues a Crab, symbol of the Sign Cancer 
(Cardinal Water) which, ruled by the Moon, directs the flow of tides. The Crab 
also relates to Isis, the Great Mother, Stella Maris, Star of the Sea . 71 The 
peacock, found as the crest of the Golden Dawn King, enlarged and abstracted 
by Crowley, is variously attributed as a symbol of wisdom (i.e., Chokmah) and 
as a bird whose flesh is incorruptible. It was also related to the Phoenix, a bird 
which died in flames every five hundred years and then rose from its own 
ashes . 72 

68 The Qabalistic Tarot 

THE KING OF SWORDS, Lord of the Winds and Breezes, King of the Spirit of 
Air, King of Sylphs and Sylphides (Last Decan of Taurus— first two Decans of 
Gemini). The King of Swords is Specific Fire in Primal Air. It is a personifica- 
tion of the activating Force behind the World of Astral images and ideas. It is a 
violent and agressively cutting power, an idea shown best by Crowley, and not 
at all by the Waite and Marseilles cards. Crowley’s mounted King is the 
dynamic energy of the charging bull of Taurus, but being predominantly 
Gemini he turns easily in one direction or the other. Gemini is also implied in 
the Golden Dawn King’s crest, the Hexagram which is a merging of opposites. 

To this King is attributed a subtleness and craftiness, as Air refers to the 
conscious mind. 

KING OF PENTACLES, Lord of the Wild and Fertile Land, King of the Spirits 
of Earth, King of the Gnomes (Last Decan of Leo -first two Decans of Virgo). 
The King of Pentacles personifies Specific Fire in Primal Earth. It is the most 
dense manifestation of the Elemental Yod Force, and is the energy which brings 

Patterns of the Sephiroth 69 

about material fruition and growth as Waite has shown here in a very effective 
card. His King is the very essence of the energy underlying earthly growth. 

The Golden Dawn and Crowley Kings use the emblem of a stag, an 
animal to whom great regenerative powers are attributed. The stag mythically 
eats the Serpent (absorbs wisdom) and in so doing sheds its skin, as well as any 
illness, weakness and old age. It is totally regenerated . 73 Thus, it is a fitting 
symbol for Fire of Earth. It moves fleetingly, as fire, but also represents the 
cyclic rebirth of the earth. This same fruition is indicated by the com (symbol of 
Isis-Ceres) in the foreground. It is clear that Mathers was a student of medieval 
bestiaries, where the animal legends are collected. 

3. BIN AH: Understanding 

The Four Threes 
The Four Queens 

□ The Supernal Mother 

□ The Organizer and Compensa- 

□ The Will to Form 

□ The Dark Sterile Mother; the 
Bright Fertile Mother 

□ The Great Sea 

Symbols: The Yoni, the Trian- 
gle, the Cup, Heh 
Planet: Saturn 
Color: Black 

In Binah is a thick darkness which yet veileth the Divine Glory 
in which all colours are hidden, wherein is mystery and depth 
and silence, and yet, it is the habitation of the Supernal Light. 
There is the Supernal Triad completed. And the Sphere of its 
Operation is Shabbathi, or rest, and it giveth forms and 
similitudes unto chaotic matter and it ruleth the sphere of action 
of the planet Saturn. And Jehovah Elohim is the perfection of 
Creation and the Life of the World to Come. And its Archangel is 
Tzaphqiel, the Prince of the Spiritual Strife against Evil, and the 
Name of the Angels is Aralim, the strong and mighty Ones who 
are also called the Order of Thrones. 

The key symbol of Binah is the Yoni, or female generative organ, 
indicating that this Sephira is the energy from which all life emerges. It is the 
Great Womb, the Supernal Mother to which all religions make reference in some 

70 The Qabalistic Tarot 

way. It is also the completion of the Supernal Triangle, which began as the 
point in Kether, emanated to Chokmah as the line, and emerges with Binah as 
the triangle. 

Two questions generally arise when first considering “sexuality” as it is 
philosophically described in these upper realms of the Tree of Life. The first 
relates to the fact that the primary female Sephira, Binah, stands at the head of 
the Pillar of Severity, while the primary male Sephira, Chokmah, is at the head 
of the Pillar of Mercy. 

This fact reflects the Qabalistic definition of maleness and femaleness 
as qualities, rather than as static characteristics, as well as the ultimate bi- 
sexuality of the Soul. In the Supernal Triangle, maleness is pure outgoing 
energy, merciful in that it is unrestricted; femaleness is a limiting quality, and 
thus severe. Moving down through the Tree of Life on the Pillar of Severity we 
find that Geburah destroys, while Hod again builds up (anabolism and 
catabolism). And on the Pillar of Severity we find that Chesed builds up while 
Netzach has destructive qualities. 

The second question which inevitably arises throughout the Tree of Life 
is the extent to which there is an interchange of masculine and feminine deities 
as we know them. Although the key God figure of Binah is Isis, the male Gods 
Saturn and Chronos are also attributed to it. Moreover, at the base of the Pillar 
of Severity, beneath Binah, we find the male God Mercury in the Sephira Hod. 
At the base of the Pillar of Mercy we find the female Goddess Venus in the 
Sephira Netzach. The answer is that our concepts of gender are insufficient to 
describe the subtle polarities and interchanges of energy in the Universe. 
Aspects of a female deity often best describe aspects of a primarily masculine 
Sephira. Moreover, it will be appreciated that the Pantheons with which we are 
most familiar in the West are anthropromorphic. We have created the Gods in 
our own image with a certain fundamentalists, though comforting naivety. 

Binah is restriction. It is the will to form, a discipline imposed on the 
pure force of Chokmah. At the same time it is the Great Sea from which life 
emerges, a concept implying a primordial Unconscious. Water had always been 
viewed by poets and philosophers as harboring the deepest mysteries of our 
existence. Indeed, in the Mundane Chakra, theories of evolution propose that 
life, as we know it, may have emerged from the sea. 

The image of dark and deep waters is a very profound one which, as it 
rises in our consciousness, cannot help but affect us in some curious way. As the 
Golden Dawn knowledge lecture states: “In Binah is a thick darkness which yet 
veileth the Divine Glory in which all colours are hidden, wherein is mystery and 
depth and silence, and yet it is the habitation of the Supernal Light.” In this 
sense, Binah is described as the Outer Robe of Concealment, an idea which 
might most readily be understood by considering the extent to which our 
physical forms conceal our inner realities from others. 

In the sense that Binah is the giver of life, she is the Bright Fertile 
Mother. But in the sense that she restricts and disciplines (in effect, is the first 
lawgiver), she is called the Dark Sterile Mother. This duality is also found in 
Yesod (the Moon), which reflects the light of the Sun into Malkuth. The Moon is 

Patterns of the Sephiroth 71 

represented both by Diana and by Hecate. One is the obverse of the other, bright 
and dark. 

Throughout the Sephiroth and the Paths, the qualities of Binah and 
Chokmah are given different names, depending on their degree of density, i.e., 
their placement on the Tree of Life relative to its completion in Malkuth. Thus, 
we may speak of Isis in Binah, or on the Path of THE EMPRESS or THE HIGH 
PRIESTESS. Or we may discuss Venus, Diana, Hecate, or even Ceres in other 
Sephiroth, knowing that these are aspects of the same Divine Energy. The Jah 
of Chokmah and the Jehovah Elohim of Binah wear many robes throughout the 

One of the most important attributions of Binah is Chronos, oldest of the 
Gods and called “Father Time.” The concept of time is highly restrictive, and 
appropriately related to Binah. Time measures the process of aging, the 
migration from birth through life, toward death, which is the ultimate result of 
the gift of life which passes through Binah. 

Binah, Understanding, is called the Sanctifying Intelligence, and the 
“Parent of Faith.” It may be taken to represent the structure underlying 
established religion of any sect, without which a “church” could not exist. 
Students of the history of art may recall the iconographic theme where the 
Mother Mary is shown as a large figure within a church, but where it is 
understood that Mary is the church, in all of its organization, structure and 

But Binah is called the “Parent of Faith,” rather than faith itself which 
is belief. Binah is the discipline of organization behind faith. Reason, science 
and intellectuality, all disciplines of organization, are the fullest development of 
the Binah energy, found in Hod at the base of the Pillar of Severity. Intuition, 
feeling and artistic creativity are the ultimate product of the energy of 
Chokmah, found in Netzach at the base of the Pillar of Mercy. 


The Four Threes, generally, represent the realization of action 

owing to the Prince having been produced. The central symbol 

on each card. Action definitely commenced for good or evil. 

THREE OF WANDS, Lord of Established Strength (Sun in Aries). 

Angels of the Decan: Hechashiah (rptyrin) and Aamamiah (rpnny). 

This is Binah in Atziluth, the influence of Binah in the World of Pure 
Spirit. The three crossed Wands on the card means the balance of Chokmah and 
Binah which has given forth Tiphareth (the Queen has given birth to the 
Prince, and growth begins), shown by Crowley as the blossoming of the Lotus. 
Astrologically, the entrance of the Sun into Aries heralds the Spring. The Sun 
illuminates Aries, the sign of Cardinal Fire, ruled by Mars. The result is great 
strength in individual expression, but also egocentricity which may manifest as 
pride and conceit. 

72 The Qabalistic Tarot 

Waite’s card shows the divinatory meaning of Established force, pride 
and arrogance, power sometimes. 

THREE OF CUPS, Lord of Abundance (Mercury in Cancer). 

Angels of the Decan: Rahael and Yebomayah (rpnrp). 

This is Binah in Briah, the influence of Binah in the mental World. 
Cancer is under the rulership of the Moon, and is Cardinal Water. It is, thus, in 
perfect affinity with Binah. The gifts of Mercury overflow in this sign, as is 
indicated by the rushing water crossing the stems of the Lotuses of the Golden 
Dawn card in a way suggestive of a Caduceus. Crowley modifies this theme of 
Water flowing from dual Lotuses. The water in his card arises from one single 
Lotus, “the dark calm sea characteristic of Binah .” 74 His cups are pomegra- 
nates, the fruit of Persephone to whom, with Demeter, the card is attributed. 

To represent the meaning of plenty, hospitality, abundance, etc., Waite 
uses a motif of three dancers (the Graces) popularized during the Renaissance. 

Patterns of the Sephiroth 73 

THREE OF SWORDS, Lord of Sorrow (Saturn in Libra). 

Angels of the Decan: Harayel (t>K’ “ih) and Hoqmiah (n’ttpn) . 

This is Binah in Yetzirah, the influence of Binah in the Astral World. 
Saturn is a very powerful planet, sometimes called “The Great Destroyer,” and 
sometimes “The Great Initiator.” Its presence usually means pain and hardship 
but this should not be taken as evil. It is through suffering, and through 
encounter with the Dark Sterile Mother that we learn life’s most important 
lessons. Saturn throws the scales of Libra off balance in order that they may be 
rebalanced in a better way. Waite’s card of unhappiness and sorrow shows a 
heart pierced by three swords, while the Golden Dawn swords tear apart the 
Rose of five Petals as does Crowley’s version. 

THREE OF PENTACLES, Lord of Material Works (Mars in Capricorn). 
Angels of the Decan : Yechevah (n> in>) and Lehachiah (rpnnb). 

This is Binah is Assiah, the influence of Binah in the material world. 
The effect of Mars on the earth sign Capricorn is to bring great control and 

74 The Qabalistic Tarot 

discipline in material things. The idea of employment, business, constructive 
building is shown by Waite as a medieval artisan at work in a church. Crowley’s 
card shows material manifestation based on the pattern of three as represented 
in various symbol systems: Mercury, Sulphur and Salt to the Alchemists, 
Sattvas, Rajas and Tamas to the Hindus, and the maternal letters Aleph (Air), 
Mem (Water) and Shin (Fire) in the Qabalah. The pyramid arises in the Great 
Sea which is Binah. 


Are seated upon Thrones, representing the Forces of Heh in the 
Divine Name of each suit, the Mother, and bringer forth of 
material Force, a Force which develops and realizes the Force of 
the King. A Force steady and unshaken, but not rapid though 
enduring. It is therefore symbolized by a figure seated upon a 
Throne, but also clothed in armour. 

QUEEN OF WANDS, Queen of the Thrones of Flame, Queen of the Salaman- 
ders or Salamandrines (Last Decan of Pisces— first two Decans of Aries). 

The Queen of Wands is Water of Fire, Specific Water in the World of 
Primal Fire. Both the Golden Dawn and Crowley cards show a Queen enthroned 
above steady flames. In one hand she carries the Fire wand, while the other 
rests on the head of a Leopard, also the symbol of her crest in Mathers’ design. 
This animal represents the extreme ferocity of Fire tamed by the Queen. Her 
hand on the animal’s head shows the power under her control; the Wand shows 
that she is able to direct this force. And here we recall that the wand is also a 
symbol of the will. 

Waite’s card appears to stress the warmth and attractiveness of this 
Queen when she is well-aspected, while also suggesting that she has the 
potential for violence and tyranny. 

Patterns of the Sephiroth "lb 

QUEEN OF CUPS, Queen of the Thrones of the Waters, Queen of Nymphs and 
Undines (Last Decan of Gemini -first two Decans of Cancer). 

The Queen of Cups is Water of Water, Specific Water in the World of 
Primal Water. In the Golden Dawn version her right hand holds a Cup from 
which a crayfish emerges, while her left hand rests a Lotus upon the head of an 
Ibis. Crowley’s card is an abstraction of the same symbols. 

The Crayfish relates to the Moon . 75 In fact, one of the characteristics of 
this totally watery card is that its flow changes according to the influences 
around it, more so than other cards of the deck. The Ibis is a bird traditionally 
associated with Thoth-Hermes who is, in one aspect, the Moon God . 76 In 
mythology the bird eats the eggs of the Snake (a reference here to Chokmah) 
and the corpses of the dead. Thus, in the Water aspect of Binah is the reference 
to the Great Sea from which life flows out, but which also flows inward in death. 
The Lotus, which has been equated with the Rose itself, is sacred to Isis, the 
Great Mother. It is, thus, through the intermediary of the Lotus (rather than a 
direct touch of the hand) that the Great Mother causes the Ibis to do its work. 
But this is a card as tranquil as the waters flowing before the Queens on the 
three modem versions. These waters, on which lotuses float, are a means of 
transmission of forces. 

QUEEN OF SWORDS, Queen of the Thrones of Air, Queen of the Sylphs and 
Sylphides (Last Decan of Virgo -first two Decans of Libra). 

The Queen of Swords is Water of Air, Specific Water in the world of 
Primal Air. 

The Marseilles and Waite versions are tame compared to those of the 
Golden Dawn and Crowley. In these latter cards, the image of a head, newly 
severed by the Sword of the Queen, is undoubtedly the most gruesome to appear 
in any Tarot deck. The Golden Dawn papers do not elaborate on this symbolism, 
which may seem oddly placed with the crest, a winged child’s head. Crowley, 
however, explains this image as the “clear, conscious perception of Idea, the 

76 The Qabalistic Tarot 

Liberator of the Mind .” 77 As Yetzirah is the realm of deception, we are to 
understand that keen observation and perception are the sword which protects 
us, slicing away all fantasy and unreality. The child alone is innocent and 
unfettered by sterile concepts and useless ideas. It is the very head of man, the 
thinking-center, which is severed. The principles of the Queen of Swords bring 
us to an understanding of the ways in which we are deceived by thought, and 
teach us how to transcend it. 

QUEEN OF PENTACLES, Queen of the Thrones of the Earth, Queen of the 
Gnomes (Last Decan of Sagittarius - first two Decans of Capricorn). 

The Queen of Pentacles is Water of Earth, Specific Water in the World of 
Primal Earth. In all versions of this card she holds a symbol of her rulership 
over Earth. In the Golden Dawn card she also holds a sceptre topped by a cube, 
a six-sided solid referring to the Altar of the Mysteries. She is the uppermost part 
of this altar (a double cube), the base being the PRINCESS OF PENTACLES. 
Mathers, Crowley and Waite all agreed that the goat was the appropriate 
animal symbol for this card because it represents Capricorn. 

Patterns of the Sephiroth 77 


Daath is called the “Invisible Sephira” in that it does 
not appear in any representation of the Tree of Life. And, in 
terms of pure Qabalistic doctrine, it is not actually a Sephira 
at all. As the Sepher Yetzirah states: “Ten is the number of the 
ineffable Sephiroth, ten and not nine, ten and not eleven . 11 

But an experience of what is called Daath is required to cross the Abyss, 
the great gulf between the Supernal Triangle and all beneath. This is the area of 
demarcation between Macroprosopus and Microprosopus, the potential and the 

The important idea associated with the Abyss is that there is a vital and 
distinct separation between the energies of the Supernal Triangle and the seven 
Sephiroth beneath it. Kether, Chokmah and Binah are totally abstract, and 
beyond comprehension. Through the meditation of Binah, the energy of 
Chokmah pours across the Abyss and becomes a realized pattern in Chesed. But 
again, the Abyss symbolizes the vast separation between the creators and the 
created. The Supemals are potential separated from their realization by a 
chasm bridged by Daath. 

It is said that the level of Daath is as far as the Higher Self can rise, 
which requires a definition of terms. Students of the mystical arts often describe 
a simple dichotomy between the Personality in Incarnation and the Higher Self 
which controls and directs its personality projections through various incarna- 
tions. Strictly speaking, however, the make-up of the individual is quadripartite, 
and an even more pure form of energy directs and controls the Higher Self. 

First there is our Material Body (Assiah), then the conscious mind, 
which is the Personality (Yetzirah), then the Higher Self, the unconscious 
(Briah) and finally there is the Essential Spirit, the Primal Life Spark 

On the single Tree of Life, The Essential Spirit refers to Kether. The 
Higher Self, one aspect of which is called the Holy Guardian Angel, underscor- 
ing its protective capacity for the Personality in incarnation, is referred to 
Chesed, Geburah and Tiphareth. 

The Personality, created anew for each specific incarnation, belongs to 
Netzach, Hod, and Yesod. This is the normal waking consciousness, and the 
aspect of the individual which must be put in perfect balance before it can 
directly contact the Higher Self (the ultimate intent of initiatory rituals or 
meditative work). The physical vehicle is in Malkuth. 

When the perfect balance of the elements of the Personality has occurred, 
the Light of Tiphareth can descend into the lower Temple of self, and bring a 
new level of consciousness. This is the “Knowledge and Conversation of the 
Holy Guardian Angel.” The experience is known as “adepthood” or “enlighten- 

78 The Qabalistic Tarot 

ment,” and it is the introduction to Inner Truth which may ultimately lead to 
the greater initiation of the Essential Spirit above the Abyss. To pass through 
Daath, and the Abyss, means to wilfully relinquish the powers of Adepthood 
which one has earned, an experience which has been described as a more 
overwhelming and solitary one than human imagination can conceive. 

It will be noted that the Path of the Flaming Sword, the zig-zag in which 
the Sephiroth were sequentially emanated, has no path directly connecting to 
Binah and Chesed. The Adept, aspiring to Union with the Divine, must leap 
across it, fearlessly and unaided, creating for himself the transition of Daath. 

4. CHESED: Mercy 
The Four Fours 

□ The Builder 

□ The Framework of Manifes- 

□ The Loving Father who is 

□ The Receptacle of All Powers 

□ The Kindly Shepherd 

Symbols: The Pyramid, The 
Square, the Orb and Equal-arm- 
ed Cross, the Crook, the Sceptre. 

Planet: Jupiter 
Color: Blue 

In Chokmah is the Radix of blue and thence is there a blue color 
pure and primitive, and glistening with a spiritual Light which 
is reflected into Chesed. And the Sphere of its Operation is called 
Tzedek or Justice and it fashioneth the images of material 
things, bestowing peace and mercy ; and it ruleth the sphere of 
the action of the planet Jupiter. And A1 is the title of a God 
strong and mighty, ruling in Glory, Magnificence and Grace. 

And the Archangel of Chesed is Tsadkiel, the Prince of Mercy 
and Beneficence, and the Name of the Order of Angels is 
Chasmalim, Brilliant Ones, who are also called the Order of 
Dominions or Dominations. The Sephira Chesed is also called 
Gedulah or Magnificence and Glory. 

Chesed is the first Sephira below the Abyss, and the first of the six 
Sephiroth making up Microprosopus, the seventh Sephira, Malkuth, being the 
“Bride of Microprosopus.” 

Chesed is the Demiurge (the Lesser Creator) which is actually the Power 
described in the Book of Genesis. The first part of that book describes not the 

Patterns of the Sephiroth 79 

origin of Kether out of the Unmanifest, but the origin of Microprosopus, from 
the Elohim of Binah, in Chesed. The formless and void darkness of the Supernal 
Triangle gives rise to manifestation, which is form and light. There is no light in 
Binah, only a “thick darkness,” nor is there form, only what we have called the 
“will to form.” 

In Chesed is found the beginning of manifestation, the externalization 
of the combined potencies of the Supernals. It is the initial urge toward material 
structure as we know it and, as such, is the administrator of the Laws first 
proposed by Binah. Chesed is Chokmah on a lower arc, from which emanated 
the pure form of Binah. As evolution proceeds toward Chesed, across the Abyss, 
and back to the Pillar of Mercy, the positive impetus of that Pillar acts on the 
energies of Binah (The Divine Energy of Kether is externally modified and 
transformed through the various stages of the Tree of Life). This may help to 
explain the attribution of male deities to the “Female” side of the Tree of Life, 
and vice versa. To reiterate: as Chesed emanates, it must now deal with the form 
which was created by Binah, and it does so in terms of the positive qualities of 
the Pillar of Mercy. There is a good analogy in the Emerald Tablet of Hermes 
Trismegistus, which describes the action of various energies on what it calls the 
One Thing. God so arranges that the Father of this One Thing is the Sun, its 
Mother is the Moon; it is carried in the Belly of the Wind, and nursed by the 
earth. The pattern of Sun (Fire), Moon (Water), Wind (Air) and Earth is clear. To 
truly understand the Tree of Life, we must constantly remember that we are 
dealing with multiplicity in unity. 

The One Thing evolves from Sephira to Sephira across the Tree of Life. 
As the Tablet continues: “It ascends from the Earth up to Heaven, and descends 
again, newborn, on the Earth, and the Superior and the Inferior are increased in 
Power.” What is described here is the constant renewing effect of the Ain Soph, 
which stimulates birth, death and rebirth on an increasingly higher and more 
powerful level. 

As Binah is best understood in its relationship to Chokmah, so Chesed 
must be studied as the equal and opposite of Geburah. In the swing of energies 
back and forth on the Tree of Life, Chesed builds up (anabolism) on the 
principles proposed by Binah, while Gebruah tears down (catabolism) reflecting 
the dynamism of Chokmah. The Tree works in cross-patterns. 

Chesed is Mercy. Geburah is Strength. They are the two arms of the 
man, one which gives, and the other which takes away. Chesed, related to 
Jupiter, is a Mighty King. He is the kindly and benevolent ruler. Geburah, 
related to Mars, is also a King, but he sits in a chariot, armed for battle. 

The text of the Thirty-Two Paths of Wisdom describes Chesed as 
containing all the Holy Powers meaning, again, that it is the first of a new 
sequence and is related to Kether by its primacy in another order. The image of 
a mighty and loving ruler conveys the idea that it is a potency which guides and 
controls the course of manifestation. It establishes the underlying framework 
on which matter is built. It is the realm of the archetypes described by Plato in 
the ninth book of his Republic, and the various symbols of Chesed make 
suggestions about the function and purpose of these archetypes. 

80 The Qabalistic Tarot 

The first is the Pyramid, a tetrahedron used as a building form by the 
society which gave us the first monumental stone architecture. It brings 
together four sides, each of which point upwards. Energy flows down from 
above, and is spread equally through each of the sides. Thus does Chesed 
contain all the Holy Powers. It is renewed manifestation of the Four, 
encountered first in the Primordial Elements of Kether, and establishes the 
archetypal pattern for matter fully expressed in the subdivided elements of 
Malkuth. Moreover, we recall the Pentagram as the symbol of perfected 
mankind, having four lower Elemental points and the upper point of Spirit 
which is a directing force, once the Elements are in balance. The principle of the 
Pyramid is the same, and amplifies the text which describes Chesed as 
“measuring and cohesive,” as well as “receptacular,” meaning that it is a 
receptacle for the Higher Powers. 

In line with the aspects of rulership, to Chesed are also assigned the 
Sceptre an the Orb. Both are found in various cards of the Tarot deck. The 
sceptre is phallic and relates to Chokmah, while the Orb represents aspects of 
Binah. It also suggests the rulership of the Four Kerubim, first found in Kether, 
over the manifest kingdom of Microprosopus, formed by Chesed and the next 
five Sephiroth. 

The final symbol of Chesed is less obvious than the others. This is the 
Crook of a Shepherd, or a Bishop in his role as the Pastoral Shepherd. Another 
title for Chesed is Love, which in this case means the love of the ruler for his 
subjects, or the shepherd for his flock. The Crook is also found in THE 
HIEROPHANT, the card of organized religion, which should be carefully 
studied in terms of this Chesed symbolism. 

Those familiar with Dion Fortune’s work will be aware that she related 
the “Masters” to Chesed. Fortune, Bailey and others, have written of such 
Masters as human beings evolved beyond the need for earthly incarnation, 
remaining by choice to assist the spiritual development of mankind . 78 


Perfection, realization, completion, making a matter settled and 

FOUR OF WANDS, Lord of Perfected Work (Venus in Aries). 

Angels of the Decan: Nanael and Nithal 

This is Chesed in Atziluth, the influence of Chesed in the World of Pure 
Spirit. Here Venus, the Planet of love and luxury, is activated by the Mars 
energies of Aries. If this placement were to occur in an astrological reading it 
could mean a brief romance, or warm but fleeting feelings of some sort. But this 
is not the precise meaning of Venus in Aries on the FOUR OF WANDS. There 
are, in fact, a number of cards where the meaning of Planets in Signs differs 
from that commonly accepted, because the card combines Sephirothic and 

Patterns of the Sephiroth 81 

astrological symbolism. Here it must be kept in mind that the Zodiac is the 
Mundane Chakra of Chokmah; it appears in the lowest of the Four Worlds. The 
cards represent the totality of that to which the Signs of the Zodiac refer. Venus 
in Aries is the outer attribute of the card. The greater meaning is the Chesed 
energy, the pure four in the world of Yod-Fire. It is, therefore, a perfection, a 
completion of the process initiated by the Supemals. 

Crowley uses a very interesting device here, which is the crossing of four 
wands, each of which carries the head of the ram (Aries) and the dove (Venus). 
Waite’s card is also a play on the wands, using them as the support for a 
garland-canopy. This illustrates the card’s meaning of perfected work, settle- 
ment and rest after labor. 

FOUR OF CUPS, Lord of Blended Pleasure (Moon in Cancer). 

Angels of the Decan: Hayayel n) and Mevamayah (ipdid). 

This is Chesed in Briah, the influence of Chesed in the unconscious 
mental realm. The Moon naturally rules Cancer, and here its alternating flow is 

82 The Qabalistic Tarot 

mitigated. It is a card of pleasure, but with reservations: in the Golden Dawn 
and Crowley cards all of the Cups hold water, but the uppermost ones overflow, 
while those beneath do not, suggesting pleasure coming to an end. The energies 
of this card are very passive, almost indifferent as Waite’s seated figure 
indicates. The meaning in divination is blended pleasure and success, receiving 
pleasure but mixed with some slight discomfort and anxieties. 

FOUR OF SWORDS, Lord of Rest from Strife (Jupiter in Libra). 

Angels of the Decan: Leviah (rp and Kelial . 

This is Chesed in Yetzirah, the influence of Chesed in the Astral World. 
Swords are generally destructive, but here the love and munificence of Jupiter 
triumphs over the cutting qualities of Primal Air and the Golden Dawn Rose (as 
in the Chokmah card, TWO OF SWORDS) is restored. Thus, rest from strife is 
the meaning of the card. The position of Jupiter in Libra is compassionate and 
sensitive, often having religious overtones as are seen in the Waite card. There a 
Christ figure is shown, in stained glass, above a resting knight. 

Patterns of the Sephiroth 83 

FOUR OF PENTACLES, Lord of Earthly Power (Sun in Capricorn). 

Angels of the Decan: Keveqiah (rppiD) and Mendial (bhmn). 

This is Chesed in Assiah, the material world. It is the fullest expression, 
the grounding, of the Chesed energies. Thus Crowley says that this card is like a 
“fortress .” 79 His card shows “Law and Order, maintained by constant authority 
and vigilence,” each of the four elements being held in balance. 

The divinatory meaning comes from the position of the Sun in Capricorn 
which, with its light and warmth assures material success, but nothing beyond 
the moment. Waite illustrates this condition of assured material gain, and 
earthly power completed but nothing beyond. 

5. GEBURAH: Strength 

The Four Fives 

□ The Destroyer 

□ The Warrior King 

□ The Power of Judgment 

□ The Clarifier 

□ The Eliminator of the Useless 
Symbols: The Pentagon, The 
Tudor Rose of Five Petals, the 
Sword, the Spear, The Scourge. 

Planet: Mars 
Color: Red 

In Binah is the Radix of Red, and therein is there a red colour, 
pure and scintillating and flashing with flame which is reflected 
into Geburah. The Sphere of its operation is called Madim or 
violent rushing Force and it bringeth fortitude, and war and 
strength and slaughter, as it were, the flaming Sword of an 
avenging God. And it ruleth the Sphere of Action of the Planet 
Mars. And Elohim Gibor is the Elohim, Mighty and Terrible, 
judging and avenging evil, ruling in wrath and terror and storm, 
and at whose steps are lightning and flame. And its Archangel is 
Kamael the Prince of Strength and Courage, and the Name of 
the Order of Angels is Seraphim the Flaming Ones who are also 
called the Order of Powers. The Sephira Geburah is also called 
Pachad, Terror and Fear. 

Geburah is the perfect balance of Chesed. As Chesed builds up, Geburah 
tears down. As Chesed is loving and merciful, Geburah is terrible and demand- 
ing of due. 

84 The Qabalistic Tarot 

The fifth Sephira, called Strength, is often considered the most difficult 
Sephira to approach because its lessons may be so overwhelming and 
devastating. It offers a necessary corrective in our lives by tearing away all that 
is useless, undesirable or outdated. We see the action of Geburah in the fire 
sweeping a blighted and dried forest, in a war which tears down a diseased 
society, or in any situation in our lives where we are forced by circumstance to 
begin anew. Thus is Mars, the Planet as well as the Roman God of War, 
attributed to Geburah. 

Often the influence of Geburah is mistakenly considered evil, insofar as 
it brings destruction in one form or another. It is, however, a necessary and 
Holy force in the universe asserting, often painfully, a requisite balance. In the 
Tarot, for example, the Fives are all cards in some way connected with strife, the 
degree varying according to the World (Suit) in which they function. But strife 
and destruction on the mundane level always brings with it a learning 
experience. Who could say that they have experienced a truly difficult situation 
in which they have learned nothing? 

Geburah is a strict discipline which is ultimately necessary and 
positive, and which serves well those who appreciate its virtue. It conveys the 
ability to judge clearly, as well as the willingness to be judged. This is described 
by the Hermetic axiom: “Watch the Watcher, Examine the Examiner, Judge the 
Judge.” Without the warrior sentinal qualities of Geburah, the merciful Chesed 
qualities would overflow in an evil imbalance of force. And here we must 
reiterate that there is a constant interaction between the two Sephiroth, a flow 
and rhythm which is continual. 

Dion Fortune points out that “The great weakness of Christianity lies in 
the fact that it ignores rhythm. It balances God with Devil instead of Vishnu 
with Siva. Its dualisms Eire antagonistic instead of equilibriating, and therefore 
can never issue in the functional third in which power is in equilibrium. Its God 
is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and does not evolve with an evolving 
creation, but indulges in one special creative act and rests on His Laurels.” 

In the Qabalistic system this rhythm is most dramatically seen in the 
pull between Chesed and Geburah, the left hand which giveth and the right 
hand which taketh away. The initiation of Geburah, that of the Adeptus Major 
is required before that of Chesed. One must have learned perfect control before 
being trusted with the abundance of the Fourth Sephira. And here, the attribute 
deriving from the initiation of Geburah is Power. 

In the sacred texts, Geburah is related to both Kether and Binah. It is 
like Kether (Unity) in that it is a source of great power flowing outward. It unites 
itself to Binah in that it tears down the hard structures first envisioned in Binah 
and then realized archetypically in Chesed. This is, in effect, an application of 
the death potential implicit in the birth through Binah. While the magical 
image, that of a bearded warrior in his chariot, is masculine, the primary 
qualities of Geburah are feminine. This idea is suggested by the attribution of 
the five-petaled rose to Geburah. The rose is the symbol of Venus, a Goddess 
closely associated with Mars. We shall see that the energies of the One are 

Patterns of the Sephiroth 85 

transmitted from Geburah through the Christ center of Tiphareth, into Netzach, 
to which Venus is assigned. Moreover, it should be noted that in the Golden 
Dawn Tarot the rose is represented on the two, three, four, five, seven and eight 
of Swords. The use of this rose, shown variously whole and hewn apart, is parti- 
cularly brilliant symbolism on the part of MacGregor Mathers.! 

Any five-sided symbol may be related to Geburah, one of which is the 
Pentagon, and another of which is the Pentagram. The latter is used in 
invoking and banishing, and represents a potent regulation of force. It is only 
through the relentless self-discipline of Geburah that the Elemental points of 
the Pentagram may be brought into perfect balance in the individual. This is a 
fitting symbol for that realm of the Tree directly above the (Tiphareth) 
experience of understanding the mutable nature of the Personality in incarna- 
tion. In Geburah is a certification that the true forces of the Individual are under 
control of the Spirit represented by the uppermost point of the Pentagram, and 
an initiation into the actual nature of that Higher Self first encountered in 
Tiphareth. The experience has been described as a devastating immersion in 
the Fires of Truth, where all that is unworthy is burned away. It has also been 
described as a brutal silence of self-assessment. 

The other symbols of Geburah are weapons. The Spear represents a 
destruction which may be swift and complete, while the Scourge and the Chain 
suggest the continual application of great force. This is the difference between 
the compensating force which cuts away directly, and that which (as in 
meditation) is a slow acting and continuous discipline. The final symbol of 
Geburah is the Sword, which bears special mention in that it is one of the “magi- 
cal” instruments of the Order of the Golden Dawn. Beside the symbol of the 
four Elements (or Tarot suits), the Wand, Cup, Dagger and Pentacle, there are 
two additional weapons. These are the Lotus Wand and the Sword. While the 
Lotus Wand stands primarily for the Will, and relates to Kether, the Sword 
represents the great power exercised by the individual under perfect self-control. 
The strength of Geburah is his greatest weapon. 


Opposition, strife and struggle; war, obstacle to the thing in 
hand. Ultimate success or failure is otherwise shown. 

The fives bring serious problems into all areas symbolized by the 
Elements. To Wands (Energy) the Fives bring quarrel and strife; to Cups (Love, 
Friendship) the Fives bring the destruction of relationships; to Swords 
(Sickness and Trouble) they bring certain defeat in a given matter and to 
Pentacles (Business and Money) they bring material hardship. Yet success or 
failure is shown by other cards in a divination. The Fives simply announce that 
a difficulty exists. 

86 The Qabalistic Tarot 

FIVE OF WANDS, Lord of Strife (Saturn in Leo). 

Angels of the Decan: Vahaviah (fV» 1 til) and Yelayel 

This is Geburah in Atziluth, the influence of Geburah in the World of 
Pure Spirit. Here the powerful effects of Saturn in Leo, a fire sign, are quarelling 
and strife. This card should be compared with the FIVE OF SWORDS, the Lord 
of Defeat. The nature of Wands is a continually outpouring force, so the Saturn 
influence here is agitating and disturbing rather than signaling a contest 
completed. Crowley calls this a “volcanic energy.” 80 His card shows the Golden 
Down wand of a Chief Adept crossed by the Phoenix Wand of the Adeptus 
Major of Geburah and by the Lotus Wand of the Adeptus Minor of Tiphareth. 
This card symbolizes the nature of the energies rather than the conditon of 
discord shown by Waite. 

FIVE OF CUPS, Lord of Loss in Pleasure (Mars in Scorpio). 

Angels of the Decan: Livoyah (n> 1 1(?) and Pehilyah 

This is Geburah in Briah, the influence of Geburah in the Mental World. 
Mars in the water Sign Scorpio produces an extremely emotional effect. Loss of 

Patterns of the Sephiroth 87 

that which is loved is symbolized by the once-full Cups on the Golden Dawn and 
Crowley cards, and by those overturned at the feet of Waite’s solitary figure. The 
watery nature of this card is totally disconsonant with the fiery nature of 
Geburah, and means the loss of pleasure. This is also one of the cards which can 
mean death if the cards around it are supportive of this interpretation. It may 
mean the death of a loved one, not the querant himself. 

One element of the Crowley card which may seem peculiar is the 
inverted Pentagram, associated with the Devil and evil generally. It is used here 
to mean the triumph of matter over spirit. 

FIVE OF SWORDS, Lord of Defeat (Venus in Aquarius). 

Angels of the Decan: Aniel and Chaamiah (n’nyn). 

This is Geburah in Yetzirah, the influence of Geburah in the Astral 
World. This card (with the Nine and Ten of Swords) is among the most 
destructive in the deck. A relationship has already been noted between the 
Sword of Geburah and the Rose of Venus which is also the Rose of the Rose 
Cross. They are closely related energies, Mars being the consort of Venus in 
mythology. What we are shown in the Golden Dawn card is that when the 
Sword of Geburah sweeps through the Air of Yetzirah, the growth energies of 
Venus are no match for it, and the petals of the Rose are scattered, literally, to 
the winds. Crowley’s card shows this same dispersion of forces behind the 
Swords in the shape of the inverted Pentagram. Waite illustrates the divinatory 
meaning of the card: defeat, loss, failure, contest finished and decided against 
the person. 

FIVE OF PENTACLES, Lord of Material Trouble (Mercury in Taurus). 
Angels of the Decan: Mibahiah (n’n^n) and Pooyal (twos). 

This is Geburah in Assiah, the influence of Geburah in the Material 
World. Here a distinction should be understood between material trouble and 

88 The Qabalistic Tarot 

the ruin of all things implied by the TEN OF SWORDS. The natural structure 
brought into Taurus by the energies of Mercury is thrown off by Geburah’s 
influence at a higher level. The result, in a divination, is loss of profession and 
monetary resources as is suggested by Waite’s rather trite and cliche illustration 
of figures “out in the cold.” The more subtle implications of the card are seen in 
the Golden Dawn version, where four roses are breaking apart. This symbolism 
is amplified by Crowley, whose once more inverted Pentagram carries the 
symbols of the five Tattvas, geometric forms meaning Fire, Water, Air, Earth 
and Spirit. In the Hindu system, these are the underlying currents of matter, 
here shown to be totally unstable in their reversal. 

6. TIPHARETH: Beauty 

The Four Sixes 
The Four Princes 

□ God the Son 

□ The Sacrificed Gods 

□ Consciousness of the Higher 
Self and of the Greater Masters 

□ The Vision of the Harmony of 

□ Healing and Redemption 

□ The Elemental Kings 

Symbols: The Calvary Cross, 
the Rose Cross, the Truncated 
Pyramid, the Cube, Vau. 
Planet: The Sun 
Color: Yellow 










Patterns of the Sephiroth 89 

In Kether is the Radix of a Golden Glory and thence is there a 
pure, primitive and sparkling, gleaming golden yellow which is 
reflected into Tiphareth. This is the first reflected Triad com- 
pleted. And the sphere of its operation is that of Shemesh, the 
Solar Light, and bestoweth Life, Light and Brilliancy in metallic 
matter, and it ruleth the sphere of action and of the Sun. And 
YHVH Eloah va-Daath is a God of Knowledge and Wisdom, 
ruling over the Light of the Universe; and its Archangel is 
Raphael, the Prince of Brightness, Beauty and Life. And the 
Name of the Order of Angels is Melechim, that is Kings or 
Angelic Kings, who are also called the Order of Virtues, Angels 
and Rulers. 

The initiation of Tiphareth is the first of the greater initiations into the 
meaning of the Self. Here the individual encounters his own Higher Self, and 
sacrifices his personality, that which he has hitherto believed to be himself. And 
while this description may appear glib, the initiation of Tiphareth is literally a 
losing of what one has known to be life, a sacrifice of that fife for a greater 
reality. This is the real meaning of the passage: “For whosoever shall save his 
life shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” 81 
A sacrifice, in these terms does not mean the relinquishment of some- 
thing much desired, rather, it is what has been described as the “translation 
of force from one form to another.” This is a translation of force directed by 
the Will. 

Once more, nothing on the Tree of Life is static. God grows, unlike 
exoteric Christianity where, at its most primitive fundamentalist level, exis- 
tence is viewed as a simple dichotomy between good and evil, the Qabalah 
describes a Universal Energy (The One) which goes through varying condi- 
tions. We, ourselves, through a natural process of evolution, become different 
gods in turn, and sacrifice one principle to another. 

Tiphareth is the center of the Tree of Life and, as such, is called the 
“Mediating Intelligence.” The powers of all the other Sephiroth flow into it, 
where they stand balanced and sanctified. The vision of Tiphareth is of the 
Universal Harmony, a vision also linked to its nature as a healing center where 
all is brought into harmonious interworking. It is the center, also, of the Planets. 
In the Hexagram, each of the six points represents a planet (and a planetary 
Sephira), with the Sun at the middle of the figure (Figure 16). 

Tiphareth is the Light of the Soul, on which the life of the Soul depends. 
In the same way, the physical manifestation of Tiphareth, the Sun, provides the 
light and life support for the earth. 

Throughout all serious esoteric writings, the term Light repeatedly 
appears, and it may seem that this is a metaphor about the Spiritual condition. 
But reference to Light is not metaphorical; it is descriptive. Those with even 
minimal experience of the inner worlds will attest to the fact that much of the 
inspired literature of the East and West, interpreted by theologians as merely 
symbol, is a strikingly accurate description of spiritual experience. 

90 The Qabalistic Tarot 

Figure 16. Attribution of Planets to the Hexagram. Planetary angles are attributed 
according to the Tree of Life. The Supernals are represented by Saturn, which is related 
to Binah. 

The search for direct experience of this Light is the “Great Work” of the 
Personality in incarnation, and devotion to the Great Work is the virtue 
assigned to Tiphareth. The principle involved is that when the individual man 
improves himself in some way, that improvement works to the benefit of the 
entire human race. Moreover, as it was put by the Egyptian astronomer 
Ptolemy, in his Centiloquy: “A sagacious mind improves the operation of the 
heavens as a skillful farmer, by cultivation, improves nature.” 82 Ultimately, the 
Great Work is the work of return to the Godhead from which the Universe 

Patterns of the Sephiroth 91 

To deal with the mysteries of Tiphareth, one must first have undergone 
the initiations of Earth, Air, Water and Fire (Malkuth, Yesod, Hod and Netzach, 
respectively). No matter how a religious or esoteric cultus, whether Christianity, 
Buddhism or Qabalism, may describe the various component parts of the 
Personality, or the initiation of the four lower Sephiroth, an integration must be 
undergone before the descent of the Light which is God the Son. This 
integration is a personal atonement for the Fall. In Tiphareth is the Re- 

As the Spirit in Tiphareth is King over the four Elemental aspects which 
are the Personality, so the rulers of the actual Elemental Kingdoms of Earth, 
Air, Water and Fire are found in Tiphareth. These are the Malachim, elementals 
who are Kings over the other elements because they have gained immortality. 
This occurs only through the intervention of human beings. Man is, in fact, the 
initiator of the Elementals. 

There is another very common biblical reference which takes on an 
extraordinary meaning when interpreted in Qabalistic terms: “Except ye be 
converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of 
heaven.” 83 Entering the Divine Light of Tiphareth is a renewal, a “conversion,” 
or a “turning around,” as the Greek word is often translated. The result of the 
experience is to become a child in a new world. So, The Child (which will, by 
definition grow into manhood within the new experience) is attributed to 
Tiphareth. Tiphareth is the Child who grows to adulthood and takes Malkuth 
(our material earth) as his bride. At the same time, Chokmah and Binah 
themselves were produced by the Will of the Eternal Father in Kether. Thus 
Tiphareth, on the Middle Pillar, the Pillar of Equilibrium, is God the Son. 

Readers who encountered this idea for the first time, as it related to the 
Court cards in An Introduction to the Golden Dawn Tarot, may have found it an 
appealing fairy tale: The King and Queen marry and give birth to a Prince, who 
marries the Princess, etc. But this is not mere fancy, it is an anthropromorphic 
symbolism explaining the operation of the n 1 n 7 wherever it appears. Tiphareth 
is the Prince, the Vau, of the formula. 

But Tiphareth is also the realm of the Sacrificed Gods, Christ, Buddha, 
Osiris and others. So we understand that the Prince must die in order that the 
Universal Cycle be renewed. 

There are a number of key symbols related to Tiphareth, of which the 
first is a figure based on six. This is the Cube, a form taken twice-over in the 
double cube altar of Malkuth. Another six-sided figure, attributed to the 
Sephira, is the Pyramid which is truncated or, in essence, has its top cut off. 
This pyramid represents Adam Kadmon, the six lower Sephiroth. It is the 
Archetypal Man, above whom are the Heavenly Supernals, Binah, Chokmah 
and Kether. The Supernals are the completion of the pyramid. 

Another important Tiphareth symbol is the Calvary Cross, properly 
shown as black, surrounded by a circle, and mounted on three steps. This is the 
Cross of Wisdom through Sacrifice. The Rose Cross and Rose Cross Lamen are 
also powerful Tiphareth symbols. 

92 The Qabalistic Tarot 


Definite accomplishment and carrying out of a matter. 

The underlying characteristic of all of the sixes is success which results 
from effort. In Atziluth, world of energy, this means victory. In Briah, world of 
pleasure, happiness is brought about after work to that end. In Yetzirah, world 
of quarreling and strife, success is earned by the strife itself. And in Assiah, 
world of business and commerce among men, this means material success. 

SIX OF WANDS, Lord of Victory (Jupiter in Leo). 

Angels of the Decan: Saitel (bKD’O) and Olmiah (iVni?y). 

This is Tiphareth in Atziluth, the influence of Tiphareth in the World of 
Pure Spirit. The benevolence of Jupiter, in the fiery Sign Leo, brings success and 
possibly warm relationships. It is an aspect suggesting drama to some extent, 
and of victory which follows great effort. A perfect balance of powers is shown 
by the crossed wands which, in Crowley’s card are those of the three Adepts in 
Golden Dawn ritual. Waite emphasizes the idea of victory after strife with his 
mounted figure. 

SIX OF CUPS, Lord of Pleasure (Sun in Scorpio). 

Angels of the Decan: Nelokhiel (blOin) and Yeyayel » >). 

This is Tiphareth in Briah, the influence of Tiphareth in the Mental 
World. As Tiphareth in Atziluth means Victory after effort, so Tiphareth in the 
Watery world means the beginning of pleasure. Scorpio is a sign of hidden 
qualities, a sign of discrimination and magnetism. The scorpion may sting 
where the Will directs. So as the Sun activates the Scorpio energies, the gain or 
pleasure commences. There is the implication, though not the assurance, that it 

Patterns of the Sephiroth 93 

will build. The Golden Dawn and Crowley cards show partially-filled Cups, 
while the Waite card suggests the beginning of pleasure by flowers emerging 
from the Cups. 

SIX OF SWORDS, Lord of Earned Success (Mercury in Aquarius). 

Angels of the Decan: Rehaayal and Yeyeziel (t>NT”). 

This is Tiphareth in Yetzirah, the influence of Tiphareth in the Astral 
World. Saturn is the ruler of Aquarius, and here exerts its stablizing power on 
the fleeting qualities of Mercury in that Air Sign. The success is the result of 
Saturn’s work in this aspect. Thus the card is called the Lord of “Earned” 
Success. Here, again, the cutting qualities of Swords are turned to positive 
advantage, and the Golden Dawn Rose is resurrected after having been torn 
apart by the five warring Swords of Geburah. In Golden Dawn symbolism, 
crossed Swords are the positive power of Air. The Swords which do not touch 
one another are the negative power of Air. And where the Swords come together 
and touch one another, or the Rose, they may be positive or negative. 

94 The Qabalistic Tarot 

Crowley’s card is particularly interesting in that the Swords meet at the 
very center of a Rose Cross of six gold squares, which he explained as meaning 
“the Rose Cross as the central secret of scientific truth.” 84 Here again, the way 
of the Cross is that of suffering, which tends to underscore the meaning of this 
card as success after anxiety and trouble. The great dificulty with which reward 
is obtained is shown by Waite’s boatman, carrying souls across the river of 

SIX OF PENTACLES, Lord of Material Success (Moon in Taurus). 

Angels of the Decan: Nemamiah and Yeyelal. 

This is Tiphareth in Assiah, the Material World. The changing qualities 
of the Moon, its natural flow, its charm and subtleties, are merged with the hard 
work and deliberate earth qualities of Taurus. The result is sure success in 
business and other mundane areas. 

Only Crowley’s card requires explanation. He has abstracted the 
Hexagram around Tiphareth (refer again to Figure 16) with its planetary 
symbols, adding a central Rose-Cross of forty-nine (7 X 7) petals. 


These Princes are seated in chariots, and thus borne forward. 
They represent the Vau Forces of the Name in each suit; The 
Mighty Son of the King, and the Queen, who realizes the 
influences of both scales of Force; A prince, the son of a King and 
Queen, yet a Prince of Princes, and a King of Kings. An Emperor, 
whose effect is at once rapid (though not so swift as that of a 
King) and enduring (though not as steadfast as that of a Queen). 
It is therefore symbolized by a figure borne in a chariot, and 
clothed with armour. Yet is his power illusionary, unless set in 
motion by his Father and Mother. 

Patterns of the Sephiroth 95 

The Princes are very complex cards in that they are wholly activated by 
the King and Queen. As the text suggests, they have no motive power of their 
own, being pulled along in their chariots. But, from the standpoint of the 
enlightened Tarot, these cards are all-important. First, it will be seen that the 
Lion, Eagle, Man (Arch Fairies here) and Bull, are the Four Kerubim. These are 
very ancient symbols of the elements, attached to many different religions. 
They appear among the Gods of the Assyrians; they are the Four Animals in the 
Old Testament vision of Ezekiel; they are the four symbols of the Christian 
Evangelists, they are the rulers of the Four Elements of the Qabalah. In Kether 
are the Primordial Elements, which become the united rulers of the Elements in 
Tiphareth, and which are individually expressed in Malkuth. 

The Princes are the personified forces (Kings) of those elements brought 
into perfect balance in Tiphareth. If the cards are set out in a row- Wands, 
Cups, Swords and Pentacles - the Golden Light of Spirit may be imagined as 
permeating the four, and directing the Kerubim to pull the chariots. These are 
the most refined aspects of the Personality; they are the Elemental Kings in 
ourselves. As such, the Princes may be taken in any direction by the Divine Will. 
The energy of the PRINCE OF WANDS may be applied with justice or with 
cruelty; the unconscious flow of the PRINCE OF CUPS may be subtle and 
artistic, or it may be very evil; the mental activities of the PRINCE OF 
SWORDS, ideas, may be creative or destructive; the material qualities of the 
PRINCE OF PENTACLES may cause growth for good or evil. 

The Princes may provide a point of entry for true understanding of the 
Tarot deck as a tool of enlightenment. And here the utility of the Princesses may 
also become clear, for they are the grounding of the lessons of the Princes on our 
material plane. 

It will now be appreciated why the Princes, in a divination, often 
represent the coming and going of an event or person, and the Princesses often 
represent approval or disapproval of a matter. 

PRINCE OF WANDS, Prince of the Chariot of Fire, Prince and Emperor of the 
Salamanders. (Last Decan of Cancer— first two Decans of Leo). 

96 The Qabalistic Tarot 

The Prince of Wands is Air of Fire, Specific Air of Primal Fire. In the 
Golden Dawn and Crowley cards, his chariot is drawn by the Lion of Leo, 
symbolizing enormous strength which may be turned in either direction, and 
which has the potential for violence if angered. In the Golden Dawn card the 
Prince holds the Elemental Fire Wand, while Crowley’s Prince holds the 
Phoenix Wand associated with the fiery Sephira, Geburah. 

Generally, the Princes (Knights) in the Marseilles and Waite decks are 
unexceptional, and need not be discussed. 

PRINCE OF CUPS, Prince of the Chariot of the Waters, Prince and Emperor of 
Nymphs and Undines (Last Decan of Libra -first two Decans of Scorpio). 

The Prince of Cups is Air of Water, Specific Air of Primal Water. Here 
again, the Golden Dawn version is the inspiration for that of Crowley, both 
emphasizing the water Lotus, and the Serpent issuing from a Cup. Wherever the 
Serpent appears it is generally a reference to Chokmah, the Divine Wisdom, the 
Yod Force; here it has the fiery, menacing qualities of Scorpio. The Cup, held by 
the Prince, is Heh, and encloses the Yod -Serpent. As Vau, the Prince carries out 
the activities of the Yod and Heh combined; here is Water. The chariot itself is 
pulled across the water by an Eagle, water symbol among the four Kerubic 
emblems. At another level, the suggestion is that the calm appearance of Water 
may hold violent and fiery energies, like sulphuric acid, which appears entirely 
benign until it has something upon which to act. Water symbolizes the personal, 
group, or universal Unconscious which bears dynamic energies. 

PRINCE OF SWORDS, Prince of the Chariots of the Winds, Prince and 
Emperor of Sylphs and Sylphides (Last Decan of Capricorn - first two Decans 
of Aquarius). 

The Prince of Swords is Air of Air, Specific Air of Primal Air. There is 
significant Yesod — Moon symbolism here in that this is a card of mind. The 
dual Fairies of the Golden Dawn card, and the three winged children of 

Patterns of the Sephiroth 97 

Crowley’s suggest that (like the mind itself) the chariot may be pulled 
capriciously in any direction. In the right hand of the Prince is the Sword which 
invokes and creates, but in his left is the sickle which immediately destroys that 
which is created. In the Golden Dawn card the repeated Pentagrams are a 
reference to the Sword of Geburah. But as the Prince’s crest is a child’s head 
with a Pentagram on its forehead, we are told here that this Prince wields the 
Sword with childlike innocence. This is an extension of the same symbolism 
found in the QUEEN OF SWORDS. 

PRINCE OF PENTACLES, Prince of the Chariot of Earth, Prince and Emperor 
of the Gnomes (Last Decan of Aries — first two Decan of Taurus). 

The Prince of Pentacles is Air of Earth, Specific Air of Primal Earth. In 
the Golden Dawn card he holds a wand of earthly dominion in his right hand, 
and an inverted Orb (material force grossly applied) in his left. The chariot is 
pulled by the powerful bull of Taurus. Crowley explained his version of this card 
in considerable depth, emphasizing the meditative qualities of the Prince. “He 
is,” Crowley said, “the element of earth become intelligible .” 86 

98 The Qabalistic Tarot 

7. NETZACH: Victory 
The Four Sevens 

□ Love 

□ Feelings and Instincts 

□ The Group Mind 

□ Nature 

□ The Arts 

Symbols: The Girdle, The Rose, 
the Lamp. 

Planet: Venus 
Color: Green 

The beams of Chesed and Geburah meet in Netzach and thence 
in Netzach arises a green, pure, brilliant, liquid and gleaming 
like an emerald. And the Sphere of its operations is that of 
Nogah or External Splendour, producing zeal, love, harmony, 
and it ruleth the Sphere of Action of the Planet Venus and the 
nature of the Vegetable World. And Jehovah Tzabaoth is a God 
of Hosts and of Armies, of Triumph and of Victory, ruling the 
universe in Justice and Eternity. And its Archangel Hanial is 
the Prince of Love and Harmony, and the Name of the Order of 
Angels is Elohim, or Gods who are also called the Order of 

Each of the Sephiroth on the Pillar of Mercy begins a sequence. 
Chokmah is the primary force toward manifestation in the Supernal Triangle. 
Chesed is the organizing idea behind the first form, and the first Sephira of the 
Ethical Triangle, Netzach begins the Astral Triangle, and is the first of the 
Sephiroth making up the Personality. 

The Personality is viewed as being composed of four Elements, each of 
which is represented by one of the lower Sephiroth. In this is a reflection of the 
familiar mn» formula, and of the familiar sequence of Fire, Water, Air and 
Earth. These are the Astral Elements. Netzach is Fire, a lower form of the Yod- 
Fire of Chokmah, reflected from Geburah through Tiphareth. Hod is Water, a 
lower form of the Heh-Water of Binah, reflected from Chesed through 
Tiphareth. Yesod is Air and Malkuth is Earth. It will be noted that the final Heh 
of the Divine Name is attributed to Malkuth in every instance, for this final Heh 
is the result of the “Fall.” 

The attribution of the four Elements to these lower Sephiroth may 
appear to add one more frustrating complication to the Qabalistic system. But, 
in fact, we have now reached the point on the Tree of Life where normal waking 
consciousness may apply. It is with the Astral Triangle and the component 
parts of the Personality, that any serious student may deal. The Order of the 
Golden Dawn introduced its members to the Inner Planes through a system of 

Patterns of the Sephiroth 99 

Tattva exercises, a sort of controlled “day dream” intended to bring the 
individual into direct contact with the subtle Elemental realms immediately 
underlying the material sphere of sensation. This method was considered 
preparatory to the more advanced techniques of skrying with the Tarot cards, 
and to the most advanced and dangerous techniques of skrying with the 
squares of the Enochian Tablets. Suffice it to say here that the astral realm, 
begun with Netzach, is the realm of illusion (maya). 

Netzach cannot be considered without Hod, its balance and opposite. For 
as Netzach represents the instincts and emotions, Hod represents the intellect. 
Feelings unchecked by reason, and reason unchecked by feelings, can be very 
destructive. It is through the proper balance of feeling and reason that one is 
able to rise, on the Middle Pillar, to the higher consciousness of Tiphareth. 

Netzach is a particularly difficult Sephira to understand. This is partly 
because it represents the first undifferentiated projections of Tiphareth, and 
partly because it must be approached from the standpoints of both the 
Macrocosm and the Microcosm. When we deal with the Tree of Life, we are 
dealing with the patterns of the race of mankind, and with the patterns of the 
individual. But one of the lessons of the Mysteries is the extent to which this 
dichotomy is, in itself, an illusion. 

On the one hand, Netzach is the undifferentiated Soul of Mankind, often 
described as the “Group Mind.” The spark of the individual mind (appreciating 
again that this is described as a fiery Sephira) is a part of that group which, as it 
becomes self-comprehending, also comprehends the whole. For example, 
Netzach is the area on the Tree of Life to which the arts, music, painting, poetry, 
etc., are attributed. Every artist uses the qualities of Netzach, drawing his 
creative imagination from it (although to produce a serious work, that feeling 
must be tempered by the discipline of Hod-Reason). As the artist increasingly 
develops the ability to “create,” and to understand the nature of his own 
creative act, he also develops an understanding of the nature of the arts in 
general. The same may be said for a scientist, who functions through Hod, the 
Sephira where the general becomes specific. 

The balance of Netzach and Hod may be shown in a simple diagram: 



Feelings and Instincts — 

► Intellect 


>- Individual 

Group Mind 

► Beginnings of Individual Mind 

In view of this balance, it will be easily appreciated that Netzach is the 
Sephira to which the forces of Nature are attributed, its angels being the 
Elohim. They are also called Gods in that they are so for the Personality in 
incarnation and for mankind as a race. They are the Gods of the lower sequence 
of the Tetragrammaton. Netzach is also the sphere of Venus-Aphrodite, the 
Goddess of Love. And as the title of the Sephira is Victory, it is to be understood 
that the Victory is in love. 

100 The Qabalistic Tarot 

What is called “love,” particularly as it relates to Gods and religious 
systems, is often misunderstood. The misunderstanding has to do with the very 
nature of the Gods themselves. It has been said that “The Gods are the 
Creations of the Created. . . the Gods are emanations of the Group Mind of 
Races; they are not emanations of Eheieh, the One and Eternal.” The reference 
to the Group Mind states, in essence, that the Gods are of Netzach. This idea is 
graphically summed up in the diagram of the symbol of Venus, which 
encompasses the entire Tree of Life (Figure 17). It will also be recalled that the 
Order of the Golden Dawn declared itself to be under the rulership of Venus. 

Figure 17. The Symbol of Venus on the Tree of Life. This encompasses all of the ten 

The point here is that there are no Gods, save those potent forces which 
we have formed in our own image, to serve our needs. There is nothing but us. 
We are the above and the below of the Emerald Tablet. We are at once, the many 
and the One. We are all that is, though we draw our strength from the Divine 
Unmanifest which is not. Thus, the manner in which we behave toward one 
another is of far greater import than is generally appreciated. The love of one’s 
fellow man, the love of God, any sexual relationship which is a psychic balance 
and, in fact, any balanced exchange of energy between individuals assists the 
race in the “Great Work” of returning to the Primal state from which itevolved. 
It is for this reason that Netzach is described as a Sephira of polarities. 

In Netzach we are considering a Sephira on the masculine pillar with a 
female goddess attached to it. However, the attribution of specific sexual 
characteristics labeled “male” and “female” is appropriate only to our own 
sphere of sensation. What is found in Netzach is the interplay of Mars and 
Venus. As was previously discussed, Geburah has certain Venus qualities, 
symbolized by the Rose; Netzach has certain Mars qualities, indicated by the 
attribution of Fire. Moreover, n 1 rp Tzabaoth is the God of Hosts and of 

The relationship between Netzach and Geburah, and that of Hod and 
Chesed may be slightly confusing when considered in terms of the emanation of 
the Sephiroth on the Path of the Flaming Sword. That Path is important in that 
it indicates both the sequence in which the Universe evolved, and the course by 

Patterns of the Sephiroth 101 

which the Seeker (save those who choose the devotional Path of the Middle 
Pillar) may return. However, this does not represent the balance and inter- 
relationships of energies on the completed Tree of Life. 

There are three key symbols related to Netzach. These are the Rose, the 
Girdle and the Lamp. The Rose is the most perfect of flowers, an attribute of 
Venus often associated with love. The Girdle, also, is a traditional Venus 
attribute. To learn the secret of the knot in her girdle, means to direct the Venus 
forces of nature, to tie them up, or to release them at will. The final symbol is the 
Lamp, the bearer of Fire, relating Netzach to Geburah and the powerful, 
warring, forces of Mars. At another level, it is the ever-burning light of the 
Temple of the Lower Self. 


Generally shows a force, transcending the material plane, and is 
like unto a crown which is indeed powerful hut requireth one 
capable of wearing it. The sevens then show a positive result 
which is dependant on the action then taken. They depend much 
on the symbols that accompany them. 

SEVEN OF WANDS, Lord of Valor (Mars in Leo). 

Angels of the Decan: Mahashiah (h>enn) and Lelahel . 

This is Netzach in Atziluth, the influence of Netzach in the World of 
Pure Spirit. The position of Mars in Leo is one of courage and strength, but with 
threatening overtones: a fiery clash is certain, but victory in the fray is not. 

It will be noted that the basic pattern was established with the 
Marseilles card which uses six crossed Wands and one central one. In adapting 
this design Crowley again uses the wands of the three Golden Dawn Adepts, but 
crosses them with a very crude club to suggest that the battle in this card may 
be a disordered and disorganized one of uncertain results. Waite illustrates the 
idea of opposition and possible victory, depending upon the amount of courage 

102 The Qabalistic Tarot 

SEVEN OF CUPS, Lord of Illusory Success (Venus in Scorpio). 

Angels of the Decan: Melchel (t>Nnt>n) and Chahaviah (il’inn) 

This is Netzach in Briah, the influence of Netzach in the Mental World. 
Venus in Scorpio is extremely intense and emotional, often involving deceit. 
Sometimes this is dissipation, a wallowing in emotions, or a self-deception. It 
can certainly be a card of egocentricity and selfishness. And, although the 
Golden Dawn card shows the Cups to be completely empty, one might believe 
them to be full as Waite shows. Crowley, on the other hand, implies that there is 
a great warning in this card. His lotuses have become ugly and slimy, a 
perversion of the sacrament of the Cup in Six, possibly brought about by the 
inflation of ego. Thus, the divinatory meaning of the card is error, illusion and 
illusionary success. 

SEVEN OF SWORDS, Lord of Unstable Effort (Moon in Aquarius). 

Angels of the Decan: Michael (bfO’n) and Hahihel 

This is Netzach in Yetzirah, the influence of Netzach in the Astral 
World. In the Golden Dawn card the Rose is restored, for it is a symbol primary 

Patterns of the Sephiroth 103 

to Venus, who rules Netzach. But the Swords are precariously balanced against 
it, one against the other, an idea also expressed by Crowley’s six planetary 
Swords aimed against the larger one of the Sun. It is not entirely clear what is 
going on, particularly in the Waite card, which is genuinely enigmatic. And that 
is the point, for in divination this card means unstable effort, vascillation and 
untrustworthy character. 

The Moon in Aquarius indicates sociability, often religious inclination; 
the Moon is less fluid and changeable here than in other positions. However, the 
balances which it establishes are precarious and easily upset. 

SEVEN OF PENTACLES, Lord of Success unfulfilled (Saturn in Taurus). 
Angels of the Decan: Herochiel ()Kfnn) and Mitzrael (twiyn). 

This is Netzach in Assiah, the influence of Netzach in the material 
world. As with the rest of the Sevens, there is very little good to be gained. 
Saturn in Taurus brings disappointment, and a great deal of work for little 

8. HOD: Splendor 

The Four Eights 

□ Reason 

□ The Individual Mind 

□ Systems: Magic, Science 

□ Contact point of the Masters 

□ Language and Visual Images 

Symbols: Names and Versicles, 

Planet: Mercury 
Color: Orange 

104 The Qabalistic Tarot 

The beams of Geburah and Tiphareth meet in Hod and thence 
arises in Hod a brilliant pure and flashing orange tawny. And 
the Sphere of its Operation is that of Kokab, the stellar light, 
bestowing elegance, swiftness, scientific knowledge and art, and 
constancy of speech, and it ruleth the sphere of the action of the 
planet Mercury. And Elohim Tzabaoth is also a God of Hosts 
and of Armies, of Mercy and Agreement, of Praise and Honour, 
ruling the Universe in Wisdom and Harmony. And its Archangel 
is Michael, the Prince of Splendour and of Wisdom, and the 
Name of its order of Angels is Beni Elohim, or Sons of the Gods, 
who are also called the Order of Archangels. 

Hod is the concrete mind. It is the sphere of Mercury, and to it are 
attributed all that is intellectually systematized, such as the magical arts, 
literature, science and commerce. 

It is at the base of the Pillar of Form beneath Binah, as Netzach is at the 
base of the Pillar of Force beneath Chokmah. And in these two lower Sephiroth 
is seen the same balance of form and force found in the Supemals. The 
difference is that this pattern is expressable in terms which can be conceptua- 
lized and understood by our minds. While in Chokmah and Binah it was 
necessary to speak in the most abstract and symbolic terms, such as the “idea of 
outpouring force,” or “the idea of form which restricts force,” we are now 
dealing with concepts which can be immediately understood in terms of the 
make-up of the individual personality. The symbolism is closer to home. In the 
human personality the Fire of Netzach is the animal intuition, while the Water 
of Hod is the concrete, rational, mind. 

The Tarot, often called the “Book of Thoth,” is referred to Hod. Thoth 
(Egyptian), Hermes (Greek) and Mercury (Roman) are different names of the 
same God. Each is a messenger, patron of learning and teacher of the mysteries. 
All language (a carrier of messages) relates to Hod. 

In the Golden Dawn version of the tenth card of the Tarot, THE WHEEL 
OF FORTUNE, the dog-headed ape at the bottom is Cynocephalus , companion 
of Thoth. It was also the Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol for writing. Cynoce- 
phalus related to the Moon, as Thoth related to Mercury. And in ancient 
astronomy the Moon was believed to follow Mercury like a faithful dog (note the 
dogs in all versions of THE MOON, Key 18). By extension of this idea we 
understand that language is the faithful companion of the student of the 
Mysteries. Words of power are his greatest instrument. 

This is the reason that Names and Versicles relate to Hod. It is not easy 
to persuade natural doubters that a word, properly vibrated, can have a 
powerful effect on the inner planes. Yet the effect of words on our own plane is 
obvious. Who can be indifferent to words such as “I love you,” or “I hate you.” 
But to be effective, words must have feeling behind them. In the same way that 
“I love you,” or “I hate you” sound strange and empty unless expressed with 
emotion, the Words of Power of Hod are only effective when they are projected 
with the intense feelings of Netzach. In other words, the dynamic energy of 

Patterns of the Sephiroth 105 

Netzach is brought to bear through the vehicle of the words. This is the reason 
that so many fail in their attempts at ritual. Words alone will not suffice; the 
form of Hod is useless without the force of Netzach. And the reverse is also true. 

Those who approach esoteric studies with great vitality and enthusiasm 
but lack the discipline of Hod are wasting their time. And those who fail to bring 
the intuition of Netzach to bear on the many words written about the inner 
sciences will quickly decide that the “Hermetic Mysteries” are pedantic and 

It is said that whosoever learns to pronounce the name of God, m rp , 
will be master of the Universe. And when we see that the Qabalistic fourfold 
division encompasses many names (attributes of the One), each of which 
requires a different learning experience to “pronounce,” the statement makes 
special sense. The names of the system are of Hod, but the beginning of the 
ability to properly use them is in Netzach, whose Gods encompass the whole 

Form is limitation. It is restriction. There can be no form without a force 
which is in some way restricted. So found in Hod are the dynamic qualities of 
the Netzach force, which are limited in order that they can be dealt with through 
our normal process of thought. This limitation takes the form of both language 
and visual image, which are a far more interchangeable currency than some 
might believe. They are both sets of comprehensible symbols agreed upon by 
societies for the transmission of messages. We know that language is artificial 
and has no intrinsic qualities of its own. The same is true for visual images, 
such as the Sign of the Cross, the Tarot cards, or even what we perceive to be a 
tree on this earth. These are carriers of idea, which are neutral in themselves. 
For this reason, the Hermaphrodite is the magical image of Hod. 

It is in Hod that the carriers of idea are separated out. In evolution, Hod 
completes the Pillar of Form. It is a stabilizing balance to the completion of 
Force, a balance which is modified in Yesod and emanates our material world in 
Malkuth. Hod and Netzach (like Geburah and Chesed) are effective only when 
their energies are actively merged in a third Sephira. In this case, we see the 
merger of Mercury (Hod) and Venus (Netzach) giving rise to the Moon (Yesod). 

The second major symbol of Hod, The Apron, also refers to the Moon, as 
does Thoth himself in one aspect. This Apron is a traditional Masonic symbol. 
It is the symbol of the builder who is the craftsman of the Mysteries, and one 
which, when worn, covers the sexual organs attributed to Yesod. And, as we 
move to consider Yesod, we shall see the extent to which the manipulation of 
sexual energies is the basis of all practical work. 

So, in the great scheme of return toward the Godhead from our material 
condition, Hod is a primary point, a point of conceptual transfer. Here the 
masters first contact their chosen disciplines, clothing themselves in forms 
comprehensible to the human mind. Here are presented to the student the 
formal tools of the Hermetic Path (as opposed to the Orphic Path of Netzach, or 
the Devotional Path of the Middle Pillar). 

All of this is a great deal less mysterious than it may seem. It may 
appear that to deal with Hod (or any other Sephira) means only the projection of 

106 The Qabalistic Tarot 

oneself into this sphere, by ritual or meditative techniques. These are, of course, 
important. But we use the forces of Hod whenever we immerse ourselves in 
the documents of the Mysteries, or whenever we approach anything intellec- 
tually. The Sephiroth are integral parts of ourselves, in a state of constant 
activity. The principle of the practical Qabalah is that we turn our conscious 
attention toward a particular aspect of ourselves, and thereby gain access to the 
corresponding part of the greater Universe. As there are four hundred Trees of 
Life, we function consciously at the highest level which our spiritual develop- 
ment will allow. 

One final point which must be made is that while Mercury is the teacher 
of the Mysteries he is also the God of deceit and trickery. One writer recently 
suggested that this aspect partly represents the “adaptability” required for 
esoteric work, and conferred by the Hod energies. But, as has been said, the 
whole Astral realm seeks to deceive. When we deal with the astral images, we do 
so with all of the perceptual vulnerability of our human minds. We are 
particularly susceptible to this in the alternately bright and murky sphere of 
Yesod. And it is in Hod that we begin to understand the mechanisms of our 


Generally show solitary success; i.e., success in the matter for the 
time being, but not leading to much result apart from the thing 

EIGHT OF WANDS, Lord of Swiftness (Mercury in Sagittarius). 

Angels of the Decan: Nithahiah (fPiinj) and Haayah (rPNNn). 

This is Hod in Atziluth, the influence of Hod in the World of Pure Spirit. 
Mercury is not well placed here; it is in its detriment in Sagittarius. Its energies 
are mitigated and quickly expended in the Sign of the Archer, a phenomenon 
which Crowley has likened to electricity in his card. The divinatory meaning is 
swiftness or rapidity. 

Patterns of the Sephiroth 107 

EIGHT OF CUPS, Lord of Abandoned Success (Saturn in Pisces). 

Angels of the Decan: Vavaliah (fPtni) and Yelahiah ( fP ntP) . 

This is Hod in Briah, the influence of Hod in the Mental World. Saturn in 
the Water Sign Pisces brings about subtle problems, and a certain introspection 
which manifests as a sense of disinterest with the material condition. The effect 
of water on Saturn is to produce discontent, the abandoned success, or decline of 
interest in anything which this card means. That idea is shown by Waite’s 
figure which walks away from the Cups. 

EIGHT OF SWORDS, Lord of Shortened Force (Jupiter in Gemini). 

Angels of the Decan: Vemibael and Yehohel (!?KiiiP). 

This is Hod in Yetzirah, the influence of Hod in the Astral World. The 
weakness of Jupiter (expansiveness), here in its detriment, allows the natural 
dualities of Gemini to affect its positive energies. They are cut back or 
shortened, by a desire to go first in one direction and then another. The 
application of Jupiter force in this sign may be erratic and unstable, or it may be 

108 The Qabalistic Tarot 

intense and positive, though brief in duration. Crowley attempts to show this by 
making all eight Swords different. Waite, on the other hand, illustrated the 
effect of this condition of energies: shortened force, narrowness or restriction, a 

EIGHT OF PENTACLES, Lord of Prudence (Sun in Virgo) 

Angels of the Decan: Akaiah (tPfON) and Kehethel (^Ntino). 

This is Hod in Assiah, the influence of Hod in the material World. The 
planetary aspect here is a very practical one which tends to cause concern with 
small details. Like the rest of the eights, any gain which may appear is limited, 
and “Prudence” is no great virtue. Waite’s craftsman illustrates the meaning of 
the card in divination, skill, prudence, and overcarefulness about small things, 
at the expense of the great. 

9. YESOD: The Foundation 

The Four Nines 

□ The Astral light 

□ The Storehouse of Images 

□ The Cyclic Energies underlying 

Symbols: The Perfume and 

Planet: The Moon 
Color: Violet 

The beams of Chesed and Geburah meet in Yesod, and thence 
ariseth in Yesod a brilliant deep violet-purple or puce, and thus is 

Patterns of the Sephiroth 109 

the third Triad completed. And the sphere of its operation is that 
of Levanah, the Lunar beam, bestowing change, increase and 
decrease upon created things and it ruleth the Sphere of Action 
of the Moon and the nature of mankind. And Shaddai is a God 
who sheddeth benefits. Omnipotent and Satisfying, and A1 Chai 
is the God of Life, the Living One. Its Archangel is Gabriel, the 
Prince of Change and Alteration. And the name of the Order of 
Angels is Kerubim or Kerubic Ones who are also called the Order 
of Angels. 

As we approach the ninth Sephira what has previously been considered 
theoretically may become very practical. In Yesod are those energies, directly 
underlying the material world, which are manipulated in various forms of 
meditation and in what is called “Magic.” These currents are known as the 
Astral Light or Akashic Fluid. In the mid-nineteenth century Von Reichenbach, 
one of the first scientific investigators of psychic phenomenon, described this as 
the Odic Force, 81 a term still occasionally employed. Whatever this energy is 
called, it is an energy which each person has the capacity to experience within 
himself and to profoundly develop. Everyone feels the presence of the Astral 
Light, though most dismiss it as a generalized neurological stimulation, 
attributable to some vague physical cause. It may be felt as an overall tingling 
sensation, or as a pervasive warmth often resulting from prayer or sexual 
stimulation. A few discover that this feeling can be intensified, and the energy 
made to move around the body at will. 

This force is sexual, and it is seen that in Microprosopus Yesod covers 
the generative organs. Those who excite this force through meditation, prayer, 
sexual stimulation or ritual methods, do so using precisely the same mental 
mechanisms. It has been said that God is sex, and the records of ecstatic union 
made by those such as Saint Theresa are highly erotic. When the Astral Light of 
Yesod, the sexual forces, are directed consciously, and circulated throughout the 
body as in the Qabalistic Exercise of the Middle Pillar, the effect can be 

The Astral Light has often been described as an electrical, or magnetic 
current. Indeed, as one “brings down the Light,” the effect is of one’s body being 
highly charged. Yet this is an energy which is plastic. It is mentally maleable. 
Not only can it be circulated throughout the body, or projected in certain 
spiritual operations, but it is the raw material from which visual images are 
built on the Astral Plane. 

Each individual has an Etheric Body (which leaves the physical body 
naturally in sleep, or is consciously projected by the adept), formed of the Astral 
Light. Thus, Yesod is termed the Foundation. It is that which activates the Four 
Elements of Malkuth, repeating a pattern seen throughout the entire Tree, 
beginning at Kether: four elements which are rooted in a fifth. 

The energy of the Astral Light is, in the east, called Kundalini (the 
Serpent) and it is declared by Qabalistis that “Kundalini is coiled in Yesod.” It 
is not a difficult stretch of mind to the correct esoteric interpretation of the 

110 The Qabalistic Tarot 

serpent in the Garden of Eden, or to the meaning of the Serpent shown on the 
Tree of Life touching each and every Path. This is the same serpent of Wisdom 
which holds its tail in its mouth. 

One particularly appropriate aspect of the symbolism of the Serpent 
here is that the reptile moves by undulations. In the same way, the Astral Light 
weaves back and forth. It follows distinct cycles which underlie and activate the 
cycles of our physical existence. The phases of Yesod cause a continual motion 
of charge and discharge on the physical plane, expressed as light and dark, 
waking and sleeping, etc. Thus, it is truly said that one cannot deal with 
Malkuth without first understanding Yesod. And of course, by extention of this 
idea, one cannot deal with Yesod without first understanding Hod. 

Parenthetically, it is to Yesod that parapsychological research is 
directed, since it is possible to use some of the current tools of science to quantify 
its effect on the sensory plane. Those who work in this area of research have 
found it necessary to at least postulate the existence of some force like the Astral 
Light, as an explantion of the ways in which wonders such as psychokinesis 
(the ability to move objects mentally) are accomplished. 

The Moon is the “Planet” (so described by ancient astronomy) attributed 
to Yesod. As it waxes and wanes, it is said to control the motion of the tides. And 
the supposed disorienting effect of the full Moon on some is reflected in our very 
term lunatic. Yet we conceptualize the Moon as belonging not only to the insane, 
but to lovers. The psychologist may find a common root in both conditions 
(which is the point), but one is ugly and the other beautiful. Such is the typical 
dichotomy of the symbols attached to the Moon. It is both the Witch Goddess 
Hecate, in its darkness, and the Moon Goddess Diana in its brightness. It is on 
the latter aspect that the esotericist concentrates, for with the increase of the 
Moon there is a concomitant increase in the Astral Light underlying our plane, 
which may be turned to practical use. 

A relationship between Yesod and Binah is suggested by the Moon’s 
control of the waters. Yesod is actually Air, which moves the water. Binah is the 
Great Sea, and is Isis. This is the Universal Unconscious from which all form 
ultimately develops. As Binah is the will to form, so Yesod is the storehouse of 
formal images directly behind our conscious experience. 

As the lowest level of the Astral World, Yesod is the realm of images cast 
off by mankind, bright and dark. It contains the Akashic Record, which is both 
the history of races and of each individual mental act of man. Blavatsky 
claimed that much of her extraordinarily detailed writing was gleaned 
psychically from this record, a flamboyant claim at least. 

The images of Yesod are fabulous in their beauty and seductiveness; 
they can also be hideous and frightening. These are the dreams and fears of 
humanity, built up since the beginning of time (note, again, the relationship 
with Binah). It is, in fact, a great ocean, into which every pebble of thought is 
thrown, producing a wave which continues eternally. However, these Yesod 
forms are illusive. They are not real in the sense that the term would be applied 
to the experience of Tiphareth. Recall that the Moon has no light of its own; 
Yesod can only reflect the light of the Christ-Osiris-Buddha center of Tiphareth. 

Patterns of the Sephiroth 1 1 1 

Yet this reflection is of the greatest importance for the developing individual, 
since one cannot look directly into the Sun, and must learn about that force by 
considering its image reflected in the waters of the Moon. 

The lower Astral is also called Maya or illusion. The powers of the Astral 
plane are pleased to let us believe whatever amuses us. They will provide visions 
to corroborate the most absurd of notions while at the same time inflating our 
egos, a very dangerous and common result of work at this level. This is a maze 
for the unsuspecting which can be effectively negotiated only by those whose 
sights are unfaltering set on Tiphareth. The vision of Yesod, that of the 
“Machinery of the Universe,” may be hard won by those tightly locked into the 
framework of their personalities. 

It should be clear, by this point, that an understanding of the cosmic 
tides of Yesod’s Astral Light, and its use, confers power. And, contrary to 
popular belief, and to the numerous systems of enlightenment preaching firm 
moral values, understanding of, and ability to manipulate, the Astral Light has 
nothing whatsoever to do with virtue. It is acquired purely and simply by 
meditative discipline. There are some exceedingly unpleasant people walking 
the earth today who may rightly lay claim to real understanding of the 
workings of the universe. 

The symbols of Yesod are the Sandals and the Perfumes, both relating to 
practical magic. The consecrated sandals worn within the mystic circle, affirm 
that one stands on sacred ground and (in their neutrality) allow for the transfer 
of energies between the Earth below and the Sun above. Yesod is the 
intermediary between Malkuth and Tiphareth (a two sided-mirror). Perfumes 
suggest its fluid and etheric qualities: Incense floats through a church or temple, 
subtly affecting the minds of the participants. Its qualities are suggestive, yet 
fleeting and illusory, which is the nature of Yesod. 


Generally they show very great fundamental force. Executive 

power, because they rest on a firm base, powerful for good or evil. 

112 The Qabalistic Tarot 

NINE OF WANDS, Lord of Great Strength (Moon in Sagittarius). 

Angels of the Decan: Yirthiel and Sahiah (M’hNEO . 

This is Yesod in Atziluth, the influence of Yesod in the World of Pure 
Spirit. The Lunar powers acquire great strength in Sagittarius, although 
wherever Yesod and the Moon are concerned, there is always another side to the 
coin. Successes are accompanied by strife and apprehension. The good health 
which this aspect conveys is certain, but with doubt about the course it may 
later take. In divination the card means great strength, power, recovery from 

NINE OF CUPS, Lord of Material Happiness (Jupiter in Pisces). 

Angels of the Decan: Saliah (rp!?N0) and Aariel Ty) . 

This is Yesod in Briah, the influence of Yesod in the Mental World. Here 
the benevolence of Jupiter, functioning through the water of Pisces, effects 
happiness and satisfaction in Malkuth. This is a card of pleasure and sensuality 
which should be compared with the TEN OF CUPS, the success of which is 
more lasting. 

Both the Crowley and Golden Dawn cards show nine cups overflowing 
and arranged in a square intended to suggest Chesed-Jupiter and the perfection 
of Water force here. Waite, on the other hand, illustrates the more mundane 
aspects of the card in its meaning of complete success and the fulfillment of 

NINE OF SWORDS, Lord of Despair and Cruelty (Mars in Gemini). 

Angels of the Decan: Aaneval and Mochayel (!?N’nn). 

This is Yesod in Yetzirah, the influence of Yetzirah in the Astral World. 
It takes little familiarity with astrology to recognize that the fiery Mars energy 
could do no good in the sign of dualities. In the Golden Dawn card the rose has 
been completely destroyed, while Crowley’s version shows “poison and blood” 
dripping from the nine jagged and rusty swords. 

Patterns of the Sephiroth 113 

Waite’s card stresses the card’s despair, and the other divinatory 
meanings of illness, suffering and cruelty. 

NINE OF PENTACLES, Lord of Material Gain (Venus in Virgo). 

Angels of the Decan: Hazayel tn) and Aldiah (n’T^K) . 

This is Yesod in Assiah, the influence of Yesod in the Material World. 
Venus in Virgo brings great efficiency, but with a relative lack of overt feelings. 
The aspect tends also to favor the amassing of things; it is thus a card of 
material gain. This is suggested by the Golden Dawn Pentacles, each of which 
has a fully-developed rose bud beside it, the central one having two buds to 
indicate continuing growth and acquisition on the physical plane. 

Crowley’s card is particularly interesting, being far more complicated 
than it might first appear. He says of it: “The disks are arranged as an 
equilateral triangle of three, apex upwards, close together; and surrounded at 
some distance by a ring, six larger disks in the form of a hexagram. This 
signifies the multiplication of the original established Word by the mingling of 
‘good luck and management.’ ” 88 

In divination the card means inheritance or material gain. 

114 The Qabalistic Tarot 

10. MALKUTH: The Kingdom 

The Four Tens 
The Four Princesses 

□ The Earth on which we walk 

□ Kether below 

□ The Completion 

□ The Inferior Mother 

□ The Bride of Microprosopus 

Symbols: The Altar of the Dou- 
ble Cube, The Equal Armed Cross, 

The Mystic Circle, The Triangle 
of Art, Heh Final . 

Colors: Citrine, Olive, Russet, 


And from the rays of this Triad [Netzach, Hod, Yesod] there 
appear three colours in Malkuth together with a fourth which is 
their synthesis. Thus from the orange tawny of Hod and the 
green nature of Netzach there goeth forth a certain greenish 
‘citrine’ colour, yet pure and translucent withal. From the orange 
tawny of Hod mingled with the puce of Yesod there goeth forth a 
certain red russet brown, ‘russet’ yet gleaming with a hidden fire. 
And from the green of Netzach and the puce of Yesod there goeth 
forth a certain other darkening green ‘Olive’ yet rich and 
glowing withal. And the synthesis of all these is a blackness 
which bordereth upon the Qlippoth. 

Thus are the colours of the Sephiroth completed in their 
feminine or Rainbow scale. 

Moreover, though the Tree of Life operates through all 
the Ten Sephiroth, yet it is referred in a special manner to 
Tiphareth. Also, though the branches of the Tree of Knowledge 
of Good and Evil stretch into the seven lower Sephiroth and 
downwards into the Kingdom of Shells, yet it is referred 
especially unto Malkuth. Similarly with Netzach and Hod, the 
right and left columns of the Sephiroth are referred respectively 

In Malkuth Adonai ha-Aretz is God, the Lord and King, 
ruling over the Kingdom and Empire which is the Visible 

And Cholem Yesodoth, the Breaker of Foundations (or 
Olam Yesodoth, The World of the Elements) is the Name of the 
Sphere of the Operation of Malkuth which is called the Sphere of 

Patterns of the Sephiroth 115 

Elements from which all things are formed, and its Archangels 
are three: Metatron, the Prince of Countenance reflected from 
Kether, and Sandalphon, the Prince of Prayer (feminine) and 
Nephesch ha Messiah, the Soul of the Reconciler for Earth, and 
the Order of Angels is Ashim or Flames of Fire, as it is written 
‘Who maketh his Angels Spirits and his Ministers as a flaming 
Fire’ and these are also called the Order of Blessed Souls or the 
Souls of the Just made Perfect. 

Malkuth is the most complicated of the Sephiroth; Kether is the most 
simple. And yet, applying the principle of “As above, so below,” we appreciate 
that Kether is in Malkuth and Malkuth is in Kether. Ultimately, God is in 
everything we know, from the flower in the field to the dirt on which we walk. 
No matter what is on the earth, is infused with the Divine Nature. The 
separation between Creator and Created is artificial. God is Man. Man is God. 
We are God collectively, and we are God individually. We are parts, and we are 
the whole. The perceived separation is the result of “The Fall,” and the Great 
Work of returning to the Godhead begins with the recognition (or, perhaps, the 
suspicion) that our perceptions have been inaccurate. Thus, to Malkuth is 
assigned the virtue of discrimination. Its spiritual experience is the “Vision of 
the Holy Guardian Angel,” an aspect of the Higher Self. It is in Malkuth that its 
existence is demonstrated, whereas to Tiphareth is ascribed the conscious union 
of the personality with this Higher Genius. 

The idea of unity in all, and of the Divine Power indwelling in every 
aspect of our material world may seem obvious to those with a natural 
inclination toward the mysteries. But, over the centuries, many religious sects 
have taught that the material world is inherently evil, a point of view which is 
ultimately counterproductive and escapist. The same may be said for certain 
fundamentalist Christian attitudes which suggest that man should “give 
himself up to the will in God” to the extent that it is a virtual abrogation of 
individual responsibility. 

The Qabalah teaches that the body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit, and 
that unless we learn the lessons of Malkuth there can be no lasting progress 
beyond. The fact is that our first spiritual lessons come from those around us. 
And if we cannot function effectively on the material level, learning from the 
day to day patterns which we have chosen for our incarnation, it is unlikely that 
we will be able to function effectively on a more refined spiritual plane. The 
ability to sense the importance of the ordinary is a special form of discrimina- 

All meditation, all Tarot divination and skrying, begins and ends with 
an affirmation of the strength and stability of the earth. One must first be 
grounded before invoking the Divine Light. And, particularly, at the close of a 
projective exercise, it is necessary to potently affirm a return to normal 
consciousness. Otherwise a dissociation or pathological confusion of planes 
may result. 

116 The Qabalistic Tarot 

The lesson of Malkuth, the balance of the four aspects of the Personality, 
through a process which might be described as one of compensation, is all 
important as one learns to “Rise on the Planes.” The Personality must be totally 
readjusted and rebalanced after each new spiritual experience, a process which 
takes place in Malkuth. The waking consciousness is reintegrated as self- 
perspective changes. 

We learn not in a consistent flow, but rather through a natural process of 
activity and passivity, stop and go. First we acquire information, or a new set of 
values, and then we stop to integrate that material into our system. This must 
happen before the lessons can be applied, which is the reason that one cannot 
truly use the powers of any Sephira until he has been initiated into the Sephira 
above it. 

Repeatedly throughout the Tree, there has been reference to the Four 
Elements in the pattern of the Min> . Malkuth is the Sphere where the 
elements are ultimately based. They intermingle to produce the stability which 
we know as matter. These are not the same as the fire, water, air and earth 
which we see and touch, although they are the motive force behind those 
elements. In the simplest of terms (although it may sound totally fanciful), 
when one lights a match one does so only through the Fire Force of the 
Salamanders, Elemental Fire. 

The Elementals, which, in the Tattva Exercises we contact in more or 
less agreed-upon anthropromorphic shapes, are the forces behind the forms of 
the Mundane Chakra, the material world. 

The Mundane Chakra of each category of existence is in Assiah, the 
lowest of the Four Worlds. Here we may again consider the idea that each 
Sephira contains an entire Tree. The Malkuth of Malkuth in Assiah is the 
ground on which we walk; the Tiphareth of Malkuth in Assiah is the Sun in our 
sky; Netzach is Venus; Hod is Mercury; and Yesod is the Moon. Yet that which 
we perceive is only the surface of the material world. Matter (the whole of 
Assiah) is composed of particles invisible to the eye. We see them only through 
enormous electronic magnification in the same way that the forces which 
activate these particles can only be seen with the inner vision. 

The exercise of the Tattvas are of Assiah (although they may easily be 
deepened into the Yetziratic World). When we deal with the Gnomes, we are 
tapping the forces of stability directly beneath our sphere of sensation, forces 
which are an amalgam of aspects of three elements within the fourth. Malkuth 
is a quadripartite unity. To deal with the Sylphs means to handle the motive 
force or Air, directly beneath Yesod’s mundane Chakra, the Moon. The Undines 
are in Hod-Mercury, and the Salamanders of Netzach-Venus. 

A great deal will be gained by meditation on the position of Malkuth at 
the base of the Tree of Life on the Middle Pillar. It is a receptacle for all of the 
energies of the Tree. They feed into Malkuth, and are grounded in its stability. 
The word inertia has been applied to this Sephira, meaning a state of rest 
(stasis) rather than inactivity, as continual motion is the law of nature. The 
difference between Malkuth and other Sephiroth is that it is self-contained in 
the same way as is Kether. 

Patterns of the Sephiroth 117 

Malkuth is called the Bride of Microprosopus, a title which relates 
beautifully to the Tarot Princesses. The Prince is Tiphareth, who rules over the 
personality it projects for each incarnation. But for the personality to perform 
its task, it must function within a given structure. The Princess, taken as a 
Bride by the Prince (who is actually a King) is the very structure (Kingdom) 
through which the Prince rules. For example, we repeatedly have noted that in 
Christian iconography the Virgin Mary (Binah-Isis) is The Church. She is the 
building, she is the rituals, she is the supportive structure without which the 
religion would not function. 

Considered at a less symbolic level, the choice of the Prince to take the 
Princess as his Bride is our own personal choice to enter a new incarnation, with 
a new personality. The Higher Self of Tiphareth builds the personality using the 
sequential energies of Netzach, Hod and Yesod. That personality is expressed 
through the vehicle of matter in Malkuth, the Sephira also referred to as the 
Gateway. Two principles unite, giving rise to a third, which is expressed in a 
fourth: Min’ . 

Insofar as Malkuth is the Earth, it is active and productive, and is called 
the Inferior Mother. On the lower arc, she is an expression of the energies of 
Binah, the Supernal Mother. And here we realize that the union of the Vau and 
Heh Final, like that of the Yod and Heh, must produce something further. What 
is produced is a renewed activity at the point of Kether, which re-activates the 
outgoing force of Chokmah, which sustains the formalizing energies of Binah, 
and so on. It is a continuous cycle symbolized by the Egg, or by the Serpent 
which holds its tail in its mouth. But this cycle becomes ever tighter, pulling 
closer to Kether with each downward and then upward swing. There must 
eventually come a point in the evolution of the Spirit of Mankind, where the 
Tree of Life no longer describes our Universe. 

The primary symbols of Malkuth are the Altar of the Double Cube, and 
the Equal-Armed Cross. The Altar of the Western Mysteries is black, and is 
formed of two cubes, on top of the other. The reference here is to the “As above, 
so below.” Moreover, the six sides relate to Tiphareth. The Equal-armed Cross 
is the balanced Elements. 

The other two symbols are the Mystic Circle, which defines and encloses 
sacred ground, and the Triangle of Art in which evocation takes place. 
Evocation is very different from invocation. To evoke is to bring something 
from another plane into physical manifestation, generally using heavy incense 
as an etheric vehicle. To invoke is to call upon a specific form of the Divine 
Presence, which is in the nature of prayer, though a great deal more practical. 


Generally show fixed, culminated, completed Force, whether 
good or evil. The matter thoroughly and definitely determined. 
Similar to the force of the Nines, but ultimating it, and carrying 
it out. 

118 The Qabalistic Tarol 

TEN OF WANDS, Lord of Oppression (Saturn in Sagittarius). 

Angels of the Decan: Reyayel (bN’O) and Avamel (tmn’K) . 

This is Malkuth in Atziluth, the influence of Malkuth in the World of 
Pure Spirit. The destructive powers of Saturn are amplified by the Swiftness of 
Sagittarius, leading to material force selfishly applied, usually with cruelty. 
Crowley shows the nature of this force by using wands which are no longer 
elegant but which, rather, are crude clubs. Waite’s card uses a heavy burden to 
suggest cruelty and malice, overbearing force and energy, injustice. 

TEN OF CUPS, Lord of Perfected Success (Mars in Pisces). 

Angels of the Decan: Aasliah and Mihal (twn’n) . 

This is Malkuth in Briah, the influence of Malkuth in the unconscious 
Mental World. Here is a situation where the generally understood astrological 
meaning of an aspect does not apply. In an astrological reading, Mars in Pisces, 
a watery sign, would signify a dispersal of energy and a degree of frustration. 
But the meaning here is that the fire of Mars causes the waters of the final sign 
of the Zodiac to rush furiously in Briah, bringing great success on the material 

Patterns of the Sephiroth 1 19 

plane. As all of the card images suggest, the happiness is “inspired from above.” 
On the other hand, it should be remembered that the Tarot, when used for 
divination, is best applied to mundane matters, and the meaning of this aspect 
may be considered different if applied to a more spiritual plane. In ordinary 
divination, the meaning is matters definitely arranged and settled as wished, 
permanent and lasting success. 

TEN OF SWORDS, Lord of Ruin (Sun in Gemini). 

Angels of the Decan: Dambayah ( n> nm) and Menqal ( NH ’ o) . 

This is Malkuth in Yetzirah, the influence of Malkuth in the Astral 
World. From the standpoint of material things, this is the most destructive card 
in the deck, and no one likes to see it appear in a spread. But those who use the 
Tarot as an instrument of spiritual development learn not to take life’s 
experiences at face value. And insofar as the Tarot is used to predict future 
events, the statement can be made about it that can be made about astrology, 
“The stars impel, they do not compel.” We are not slaves to our destiny, but have 
the capacity, through inner processes, to considerably improve our earthly lot. 
To do so is no less ethical than resigning a position when it is clear that some 
work-related disaster is on the horizon, or walking on the sidewalk when “the 
cards tell you” that if you walk in the street you will probably be struck by an 
oncoming automobile. We should use the capacities we have been given. 

The divinatory meaning of this card is ruin, death, failure, disaster. This 
is more of a death card than is DEATH, which generally means a situational 
death, a transformation. 

TEN OF PENTACLES, Lord of Wealth (Mercury in Virgo). 

Angels of the Decan: Hahaayah and Laviah ( n ’ 1 ) ■ 

This is Malkuth in Assiah, the influence of Malkuth in the material 
World. Mercury, God of commerce, rules the earthly sign Virgo. Its placement 
here assures material gain so vast that it may lose its importance, a situation 
described as an embarras de richesses. 

120 The Qabalistic Tarot 

The Golden Dawn version follows the same pattern as the Marseilles 
deck showing gain by the roses in full bloom. Both Waite and Crowley use the 
whole Tree of Life to suggest completion; following the planetary attribution, 
Crowley’s Tree shows various symbols for Mercury. 


They represent the forces of the Heh Final of the Name in each 
suit, completing the influences of the other scales. The mighty 
and potent daughter of a King and Queen: a Princess powerful 
and terrible. A Queen of Queens, an Empress, whose effect 
combines those of the King, Queen and Prince. . . . Yet her power 
existeth not save by reason of the others, and then indeed it is 
mighty and terrible materially, and is the Throne of the Forces of 
the Spirit. Woe unto whosoever shall make war upon her when 
thus established! 

Patterns of the Sephiroth 121 

PRINCESS OF WANDS, Princess of the Shining Flame, The Rose of the Palace 
of Fire, Princess and Empress of the Salamanders, Throne of the Ace of Wands. 

The Princess of Wands is Earth of Fire, the personification of Specific 
Earth of Primal Fire. In the Golden Dawn card her hand rests upon a golden 
altar decorated with Rams’ heads (Aries) reminding us that in the system of 
Decans it is Aries which both begins and ends the series. The Fire being 
“sacrificed” on the altar of Malkuth, the Fire of the Wand (now so imposing as 
to be considered a dangerous club), and the Fire beneath her feet shoot upwards. 
This card is a dynamic and unpredictable as the Tiger which is the crest of the 

In this card, as in all of his Court cards, Crowley attempts to represent 
the activity of the force in question. His swirling, dancing figure, inseparable 
from the Tiger, is the mundane aspect of fire. Here, especially, Crowley’s 
dependance on the Golden Dawn designs is clear. 

One must, finally, comment on the Waite “Pages,” and the Knaves of the 
Marseilles deck, both of which are exoteric. Insofar as these cards are the “Bride 
of Microprosopus,” they must be shown as female. The Heh final is the Inferior 
Mother. Waite knew this, and was perhaps avoiding an idea which he 
considered an esoteric secret. 

PRINCESS OF CUPS, Princess of the Water and Lotus of the Palace of the 
Floods, Princess and Empress of Nymphs and Undines, Throne of the Ace of 

The Princess of Cups is Earth of Water, the personification of Specific 
Earth in Primal Water. In the Golden Dawn card there are three important 
symbols: the turtle, the swan and the dolphin, the latter having been discussed 
in regard to the TWO OF CUPS. The Turtle is a symbol of wisdom (because it 
withdraws into its own shell); it is also related to long life in some systems . 89 But 
the swan in the key symbol for this Princess, who wears a cloak of soft feathers. 
The swan is related to Orpheus (who chose to be reborn in that form), and thus 

122 The Qabalistic Tarot 

to the lyre and all musical forms. The tradition among seaman is that the swan 
brings good fortune . 90 

As in his PRINCESS OF WANDS, Crowley abstracts the three symbols 
of the Golden Dawn card, although he describes the form issuing from the cup 
as the tortoise which in Hinduism has on its back the Elephant which supports 
the Universe. This is, therefore, a card of emergent life from the sea, and of 
matter crystallizing within water. 

PRINCESS OF SWORDS, Princess of the Rushing Winds, Lotus of the Palace 
of Air, Princess and Empress of the Sylphs and Sylphides, Throne of the Ace of 

The Princess of Swords is Earth of Air, personification of Specific Earth 
in Primal Air. The Golden Dawn Princess stands at a silver altar which bears 
no fire, only smoke which may be blown in any direction by the Air of Yetzirah. 
She is intended to represent a mixture of Minerva (Goddess of Wisdom) and 
Diana (Goddess of the Moon and of the hunt). The crest describing her 
personality, is a head of Medusa. Medusa was at one time a very beautiful 
woman who, because she offended Athena was transformed into a hideous 
creature with hair of serpents. The very sight of her would turn men to stone . 91 
Thus, the indication here is that the personality of the Princess is not entirely 
pleasant. It should also be noted that it is Perseus who severs the head of 
Medusa. He is also represented on the Golden Dawn version of THE LOVERS, 
rescuing Andromeda from her earthly shackles. Mathers, a great symbolist, 
unquestionably intended that we make this connection. 

PRINCESS OF PENTACLES, Princess of Echoing Hills, Rose of the Palace of 
Earth, Princess and Empress of the Gnomes, Throne of the Ace of Pentacles. 

The Princess of Pentacles is Earth of Earth, the personification of 
Specific Earth in the World of Primal Earth. Her Golden Dawn attribute is a 
winged Ram’s head (made a helmet by Crowley) suggesting that she is a 

Patterns of the Sephiroth 12B 

completion of that found in the PRINCESS OF WANDS. The Princesses are less 
dependant of one another than are the other Court cards, insofar as the 
elements are blended in Malkuth. 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 


As has been indicated, the Tarot is usually related to the Sepher Yetzirah or 
Book of Formation. This brief, but major, document of esoteric cosmology 
purports to demonstrate the rational framework and course of creation of our 
Universe. Yet, as with all truly enlightened works, it is not intended to be read; it 
must, rather, be used as a stimulus to meditation. 

The Sepher Yetzirah uses the symbolism of highly abstract words to 
describe those energies which the Tarot describes in pictures, the corresponding 
links being the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Thus, any comment 
on a Hebrew letter may also be taken to be a comment on the Tarot card to 
which that particular letter is attributed. 

To approach the Tarot from the standpoint of the Sepher Yetzirah adds 
an important dimension to the study of the cards. Moreover, the ancient 
document is so short that this is not a difficult task. 

Let us begin by applying selected passages of this work to the Tarot 
Trumps as they are traditionally placed on the Tree of Life (Figures 18 and 19). 


From the Spirit he produced Air, and formed in it twenty-two sounds, the 
letters. Three are mothers, seven are double, and twelve are simple, but the 
Spirit is first and above these. 92 

N THE FOOL is Air. All of the other Tarot cards are implicit in this Transitional 
Air; they all arise from Air. 

126 The Qabalistic Tarot 

Figure 18 . Attribution of the Major Arcana to the Tree of Life 

From the Air He formed the Waters and from the formless and void 
made mire and clay, and designed surfaces upon them, and hewed recesses in 
them, and formed the strong material foundation. 

n THE HANGED MAN is Water. It is the basis of matter, and is a part of 
Microprosopus on the Tree of Life, at the side of the Pillar of Severity. 
Alchemists call Water the “root of all minerals.” 

From the Water he formed Fire and made for himself a Throne of Glory 
with Auphanim, Seraphim and Kerubim, as his ministering angels; and with 
those three he completed his dwelling. . . 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 127 

w JUDGMENT is Fire. The final maternal connects Microprosopus with its 
bride, Malkuth, again on the side of the Pillar of Severity. 

As the Path of the Flaming Sword (Figure 20) which is the Path of 
emanation of the Sephiroth, crosses the Abyss from Binah to Chesed where no 
Path exists, so there is the possibility of passage across the Abyss from 
Chokmah to Geburah (although this is not a viable possibility for the 
developing spirit). Were this done, it would be possible to move up and down the 
Tree of Life using only three Paths, those of the Matemals. From Kether the 
Path of THE FOOL leads to Chokmah. From Chokmah it is a leap across the 
terrible abyss to Geburah. From Geburah is the Path of THE HANGED MAN 

128 The Qabalistic Tarot 

into Hod. Finally, the Path of JUDGMENT leads into the material completion 
of Malkuth. 

There is a quality of “mind game” to working with the Sepher Yetzirah 
in this way, but the method is essential to understanding the ways in which the 
Tarot embodies high Qabalistic principle. 


The initial commentary on the Double Letters states that they are so 
called “because each letter represents a contrast or permutation.” In fact, each 
of these seven letters has two pronunciations, one hard and one soft. 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 129 

The letters refer, in order, to Life and Death, Peace and War, Wisdom 
and Folly, Riches and Poverty, Grace and Indignation, Fertility and Solitude, 
Power and Servitude. These are the pairs of opposites which we can apply to the 
designated Tarot Trumps. 

These Seven Double Letters point out seven localities; Above, Below, 
East, West, North, South, and the Palace of Holiness in the midst of them 
sustaining all things. 

This describes the Hexagram, related to the central Sephiroth on the 
Tree of life (Figure 16 on page 96). 

These Seven Double Letters He designed, produced and combined and 
formed with them the Planets (stars) of the Universe, the Days of the Week, and 
the Gates of the soul (the orifices of perception) in Man. 

At the onset it is important to appreciate that as the Planets are 
attributed to Paths (Figure 21), they are not the same as planets attributed to 
Sephiroth, which are, at one level, the bodily Chakras or Metals of the 
Alchemists. To the MAGICIAN, for example, Mercury is applied, but this differs 
from the Mercury which is the mundane chakra of the Sephira Hod. It is what 
Mathers called the “Philosophic Mercury.” 

The Paths involving Planets must be considered transitional, as are 
those Paths to which Elements are attributed: they always represent the action 
of one energy on another because they link together two Sephiroth. The same 
may be said for the Paths of the Zodiac, where the action of one Planet on 
another occurs through the intermediary of the Sign of the Zodiac. It would be 
pleasant to be able to suggest that this is not actually as difficult as it appears, 
but such is not the case. To understand these concepts may require a herculean 
effort on the part of one who approaches them purely intellectually. The 
corrective comes for those who project themselves astrally into the Tarot cards. 
The actual experience of these energies is the only way to make real sense from 
principles, of necessity, expressed coldly. 

3 THE MAGICIAN is Mercury, Life-Death. 

1 THE EMPRESS is Venus, Peace-War. 

A THE HIGH PRIESTESS is the Moon, Wisdom-Folly. 

3 THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE is Jupiter, Riches-Poverty. 
£> THE TOWER is Mars, Grace-Indignation. 

“i THE SUN is the Sun, Fertility-Barrenness 
n THE UNIVERSE is Saturn, Power-Servitude. 

These are the primary attributions of the Planets to the Tarot cards, 
though, as is indicated in the illustrations, each Sign of the Zodiac is ruled by a 

130 The Qabalistic Tarot 

Planet. There are only three Paths on the Tree of Life without some Planetary 
reference; these are the Paths of the Matemals. A most important principle is 
imbedded in this fact, and in the specific placement of the matemals on the Tree 
of Life. 

Figure 21. Planetary attributions to the Tree of Life. The Planets attached to Sephiroth 
are indicated in heavy type. Also in heavy type are those planets directly attributed to 
Paths; associated Tarot Trumps are given beneath. The seven planetary Paths are the 
seven touble letters of the Sepher Yetzirah. Planets in light type are Paths attributed to 
signs of the Zodiac ruled by those planets. Note that the only Paths which do not in some 
way relate to planets are those of the Hebrew letters called Matemals: N (Air), 0 
(Water) and U) (Fire). 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 131 


The twelve simple letters. . . are the foundation of these twelve 
properties: Sight, Hearing, Smell, Speech, Taste, Sexual Love, Work, Movement, 
Anger, Mirth, Imagination and Sleep. 

. . . These Twelve Simple Letters he designated, and combined, and 
formed with them the Twelve celestial constellations of the Zodiac. 

(Figure 22 shows the Signs of the Zodiac on the Tree with the 
corresponding Tarot Keys. This should be studied with Figure 23, which 
considers the attribution of Elements to the same Sign on each Path). 

n THE EMPEROR is Aries, Sight. 

1 THE HIEROPHANT is Taurus, Hearing. 

T THE LOVERS is Gemini, Smell. 

n THE CHARIOT is Cancer, Speech. 

0 STRENGTH is Leo, Taste. 

t THE HERMIT is Virgo, Sexual Love. 

b JUSTICE is Libra, Work. 

3 DEATH is Scorpio, Movement. 

0 TEMPERANCE is Sagittarius, Anger. 

y THE DEVIL is Capricorn, Mirth. 

y THE STAR is Aquarius, imagination. 

P THE MOON is Pisces, Sleep. 

Thus, the totality of the human condition is represented in the twenty 
two cards of the Major Arcana, the Maternal cards are the primary spiritual 
forces; the Double Letter cards are the opposing conditions affecting the 
individual in incarnation; the Simple Letter cards are the activities in which the 
individual engages. 

In terms of the Microcosm and Macrocosm, the Maternal Letters are the 
roots of any given form of consciousness, the Double Letters are the gateways or 
orifices of the body, and the Single Letters are the organs. Some very profound 
insights will result from meditation on the incarnation of the various aspects of 
the letters. 


A slight feeling of despair may be a common reaction to one’s first 
encounter with this diagram (Figure 24), which may appear to add the last 
straw to what is an already unbearably heavy weight of symbolism. But in 
actuality, anyone who can follow a subway map of New York City will have no 
problem with the Cube of Space. It is a sort of internal map of the Universe, 
given in the Sepher Yetzirah, where a direction is assigned to each letter of the 
Hebrew alphabet. 

Many of the symbols discussed in this book are a great deal more 
accessible than they might at first appear. The Cube of Space is a good example, 

132 The Qabalistic Tarot 

Figure 22. Signs of the Zodiac on the Tree of Life. The Twelve Zodiacal Paths are the 
twelve simple letters of the Sepher Yetzirah. 

and one which may serve to demonstrate the extent to which Qabalistic 
symbols are meant to be used in our internal learning process. 

If we sit quietly, we may conceptualize our thoughts, feelings and 
spiritual being as controlled from a central point in our heads. Perhaps this 
could be called the “I” point. Once we have focused on this internal point, we 
can begin to think about how it relates to principles of an inner universe. These 
principles are the comers and directions of the cube. So what we do is to make 
believe that our consciousness is inside a cube, giving our intelligence 
something concrete, though artificial, with which to begin inner exploration. 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 


Figure 23. The Signs of the Zodiac on the Tree of Life as Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable 

The Cube of Space is simple enough, though it is a very different pattern 
of symbolism than is found on the Tree of Life. And, while the Sepher Yetzirah 
describes this Cube of Space very precisely, it is not so easily related to the Tree! 
The problem arises in that the document does not specifically ascribe to Paths 
between Sephiroth as is understood today. And, as we have seen, some versions 
of the Tree do not show a complete twenty-two Paths. 

One possible explanation, espoused by a large number of scholars, is 
that the book represents a purposeful attempt to fuse two different methods of 
approach to the inner worlds, using a type of logic similar to that of the Neo- 

134 The Qabalistic Tarot 


Figure 24. The Cube of Space 

Pythagoreans, popular in the second and third centuries A.D. 93 The least that 
can be said is that (like the Bahir) there are aspects of the Sepher Yetzirah 
which are not easily accomodated into our modern symbolic structure. 

On the other hand, the Cube of Space demonstrates certain relationships 
not at all obvious on the Tree of Life. One primary example is the symbolic 
crossing of the three Maternals at the point of THE UNIVERSE (Tau). It is also 
more consistent with the directions of traditional ritual: East, West, North and 
South. Gareth Knight describes this as the “Upper Room,” 94 a method of 
relating our mundane spatial perspectives to an inner experience, as a matter of 

It must, however, be stressed that none of the external systems truly 
indicate the quality of the inner experience of the Paths. The reason that they 
all appear so complex and disjointed is that they attempt to suggest experiences 
which our language is inadequate to describe. No matter how dogmatic one may 
be about the intellectual intermesh of symbols, the most intricate commentary 
on these matters is often like the medieval clerics who postulated the number of 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 135 

angels that would fit on the head of a pin. Yet some statements which appear to 
be symbolic turn out to be very precise descriptions of a universal experience. It 
is up to the discrimination of the student to decide which is which. Only the 
inner experience of these Paths make clear what the various systems of symbols 
are trying to explain. And until such time as we encounter directly the energies 
of the Tarot cards, we strive to form concepts about these energies through such 
artificial devices as the Tree of Life, and through such methods as the 
Qabalistic manipulation of numbers. 


Qabalistic numerology is called Gematria. This involves nothing more 
than taking the numerical value of each Hebrew letter in a word, and adding 
those values together. Theoretically, words of the same total value bear some 
conceptual relationship, although the principle can be taken to absurd 
extremes. Gematria can be a petty trap. 

The interrelationship of numbers and letters often, however, points to 
some profound ideas. For example, we have considered the reinteraction of 
Chokmah and Binah, whose union gives rise to Tiphareth: the Yod and Heh 
produce the Vau. As a number, Yod is 10 and Heh is 5. Added together they are 
15, which reduces to 6, the numerical value of Vau. Even the most sceptical may 
agree that for the relationship of the numerical values to be precisely that 
relationship assigned to the letters as philosophical values is interesting. These 
patterns occur with such frequency and consistency that they seem clearly 
intended to teach. 

Westcott’s fine explanation of Gematria is reprinted by Aleister Crowley 
in his Equinox. 95 We repeat here one of his examples which uses the God Name 

nil (Ruach Elohim), meaning the Spirit of Elohim. The numer- 
cial value of this phrase is easily derived, as is shown below. Having found the 
letters to have a total value of 300, we discover a parallel in that the letter Shin 
also has a value of 300. Shin is the maternal letter of spiritual Fire. 

If the 300 is reduced, it becomes 3, the number of Binah, implying a 
relationship of both the Ruach Elohim and the potencies symbolized by Shin, to 
the first formative Sephira. 

1 = 200 
1 = 6 
n = 8 

H = 1 

b = 30 
n = 5 
> = 10 
D = 40 

total 300 

136 The Qabalistic Tarot 













B, V 





G, Gh 




D, Dh 










0, U, V 


Nail or Hook 





Sword or Armor 





Fence, Enclosure 








I, Y 






K, Kh 






Ox Goad 




















Aa, Ngh 






P, Ph 








Fish hook 





Ear, back of head 







S, Sh 





T, Th 




Through Gematria a “total” energy is considered as the sum of its parts. 
The same approach can be taken graphically, by using the Tarot to spell God 
Names. Ruach Elohim, for example, is composed of the energies symbolized by 
the following: 




The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 137 


Another way to consider the Keys is in terms of equilibrium and 
opposites (Figure 25). Here THE FOOL is viewed as the opposite of THE 
MAGICIAN, or THE CHARIOT the opposite of THE HIEROPHANT on the 
basis of their position on the Tree of Life. It is important to note that position is 
the consideration here, since some authorities establish card opposites in other 

Beyond Gematria as a means for examining the Tree’s internal 
workings, one begins to look for Paths that are related in special ways. In this 
regard, we have already suggested that certain sets of (three) Paths define 
aspects of the Self, i.e., the Supreme Spiritual Self, the Higher Self and the 
Personality. Other sets of Paths are more obvious, such as those of the Flaming 
Sword (Figure 20), where each card is important to the process of emanation of 
the Universe. 

Figure 25. Cards considered as opposites 

138 The Qabalistic Tarot 

basis of their position on the Tree of Life. It is important to note that position is 
the consideration here, since some authorities establish card opposites in other 

One of the most potent sets of Paths is that of the Middle Pillar and 
(Figure 26 ). What this diagram says, in essence, is that through the experience 
of three separate types of energy, we may attain knowledge of the Ultimate 

Figure 26. The cards on the Middle Pillar. There are only three cards which are actually 
on the middle pillar, hut to travel these Paths means also to “cross through” the potent 
energies symbolized by three other cards. Note also that the Path of the High Priestess 
extends through the Abyss. 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 139 

If we apply the definitions of the Thirty Two Paths of Wisdom (Figure 
27) in the same way, we find these three major Paths described, in order of their 
progress toward the Godhead, as: The Administrative Intelligence (THE 
UNIVERSE), the organizing structure behind our material environment; The 
Intelligence of Probation (TEMPERANCE), perhaps the most difficult Path on 
the entire Tree of Life, one of Spiritual Alchemy and of the dreadful “Dark Night 
of the Soul,” leading to knowing immersion of the Personality into the 
consciousness of the Higher Self; The Uniting Intelligence (THE HIGH 
PRIESTESS), the Path by which all that has appeared to be separated from the 
Godhead is re-united. 

The point here is the extent to which the ancient Qabalistic documents 
amplify our appreciation of the Tarot and vice-versa. 

Figure 27. The Paths from the Thirty-Two Paths of Wisdom 

140 The Qabalistic Tarot 


As we have seen, the Tree of Life is based on one very simple principle, 
that of a positive and a negative which, between them, produce a third and 
balanced energy. These are the Yod, Heh and Vau of the Divine Name. A 
variety of terms describe this pattern, such as: Male, Female, Neuter, or Father, 
Mother, Son. Figure 28 labels the Sephiroth centers of Force and Form, whereas 

Figure 28. Patterns of Form and Force on the Tree of Life. The Activating Paths are the 
i ; the Formative Paths are the H ; the crossing Paths and those of the Middle Pillar 
are the 1 . Note that the word “formative” is used here rather than “passive,” chosen 
by some authorities. There is no inertia on the Tree of Life; it is in a state of constant 
activity, the formative process being a response to the activation. This is not neutral in 
the sense that the word passive would imply. Here one might usefully consider the fact 
that THE EMPEROR is a Formative Path, rather than an activating one, and the fact 
that Binah (like the Path of THE EMPEROR) is bright red in Atziluth. 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 141 

the Paths are called Activating and Formative. This slight distinction is made 
to point out that the Sephiroth are centers of energy, while the Paths are the 
subjective experiences between those centers. 

Before proceeding further, it seems important to point out that the 
complex discussion which follows is presented not so much for its content as for 
its method of analyzing the Tree. 

The Tree of Life is a system of triangles made up of Paths which are 
Activating, Formative and Balancing. This is an absolute Qabalistic given, a 
universal pattern. In light of this pattern, let us return to the idea that each of 
the key triangles on the Tree refers to one part of the Soul: The Supernal 
Triangle is the Supreme Spiritual Self, the Ethical Triangle is the Higher Self, 
and the Astral Triangle is the Personality in incarnation. This idea, which was 
particularly developed by Dion Fortune, 96 places special importance on nine 
Tarot cards: 


THE FOOL (Activating) 


THE EMPRESS (Balancing) 


STRENGTH (Balancing) 


JUSTICE (Formative) 


TOWER (Balancing) 


SUN (Activating) 

The core structure of each part of the Self is composed of three aspects, 
an Activating (Yod-Fire), a Formative (Heh-Water) and an energy which is 
Balancing (Vau-Air), as is shown in Figure 29. One important clue to the 
symbolism is that Heh-water, wherever it appears means consciousness. In 
some Tarot cards this is a Universal Consciousness, while in others it is the 

personal consciousness. Yod-Fire is the motive principle (what Fabre d’Olivet 
called the “intellectual volative principle”). It is that on which consciousness 
acts. Vau-Air is the balance between these two, which sustains their interaction. 
What is important to appreciate is that the pattern is implicit at all levels. And, 
having seen the activities of the Yod, Heh and Vau within the core structures of 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 143 

the Self, we look for the same pattern in the Path energies around these core 

The nine cards of the Self are clearly defined. What is then required is an 
appreciation of the relationship of the other cards to these givens. We know, 
first of all, that each Path represents a specific lesson about the Self, a lesson 
required to full understand the core aspect (triangle) of the Self to which it 
relates. Here it will be seen that the subsidiary Paths operate in the same 
pattern of zig-zag energies accross the Tree as do the Sephiroth. Considering 
only the outermost Paths: 


(Activating) ' (Formative) 


(Formative) ^ > (Activating) 


(Activating) (Formative) 

The four upper Paths are the extremes of energy which maintain the 
opposite Pillars and which may thus be called Paths of Stabilizing Extreme 
energy which is either Activating or Formative. We then discover that at each 
level, the two Paths on either side of the balanced Middle Pillar share the 
qualities of the cards beside them, an even more complicated and interesting 
scheme appears, one which reveals card relationships obvious in no other way: 

Each Stabilizing Extreme Path is related to an inner Connecting Path 
Paths connect the levels of the Self, rather than being a part of either Pillar; 
they may also be considered the lesser extremes of Activating and Formative 
energies. These, and the Paths of the Middle Pillar can be called probationary 

To some extent, these definitions are arbitrary, yet it is essential that we 
make an attempt to place what we know into an overall intellectual perspective. 

144 The Qabalistic Tarot 

From there we begin to internalize, personalize, concepts so that we view our 
own lives differently than before. This process can be frustrating and painful. 

Everyone who works seriously with the Tree of Life reaches a point 
where they are no longer able to take the symbols at face value, where the 
symbols seem somehow shallow and empty. It is then that one begins to ask: 
How do each of the Paths and Tarot Keys relate to me personally? The question 
may grow from an internal observation of one’s own thinking process, what the 
Hermetic Mysteries would call “watching the watcher.” We are all aware of our 
own consciousness, although it is something on which very few people ever stop 
to focus attention. And as we observe our own process of attention to ourselves, 
we may well ask how the consciousness, as well as the observation of it fits on 
the Tree of Life. 

To answer this question, let us consider our own bodies. The Qabalah 
neatly fits our physical vehicles into Malkuth (using the one Tree system) or 
Assiah (on the four Tree system). Moreover, while the body is a totality, working 
as a unity in whatever physical operation we may perform, we conceptualize its 
components as separate for the sake of understanding their individual 
contribution to the whole. The head is not the hand, although one does not 
function without the other. And it is not difficult to apply the various parts of 
the Tree of Life to the body. No great intellectual effort is required. 

But when we become aware of our own consciousness, the Personality 
“I” that functions in our heads, we may experience difficulty in relating what 
we observe to the Tree of Life. Our self-awareness (which is in actuality limited 
to the Personality for most) does not fit anywhere on the Tree of Life in to to. The 
package of thoughts and feelings which we observe does not seem specifically 
applicable to any Sephira or Path. It can be said that Hod is intellect, that 
Netzach is intuition and feelings, or even that Yesod is our faculty of 
imagination. But when we think about something we are not functioning 
exclusively in Hod, anymore than when we use our imagination we are 
funcioning exclusively in Yesod. These qualities are not specific, they are fluid 
and interwoven. In fact, we are, of necessity, functioning on all Paths at once. 
Our Personality consciousness is the combined effect of what happens on these 
lower Paths. We cannot separate our thinking capacity from our feeling 
capacity, but we can focus on either (the Alchemical process of “Dissolution”). 
To do so is to begin the conscious travelling of a Path, where we encounter the 
trail left by many others who have pursued the same process. The Paths are 
partly the artificial separation out of twenty-two discrete aspects of conscious- 
ness; they are also the encounter of the same specific qualities in the Universal 
consciousness of mankind. Using the formula “As Above, so Below,” we begin 
by studying our own personal intellectual and intuitive functions. As we begin 
to understand these, we also begin to recognize their patterns in all created 
human beings. 

It may, thus, be appreciated why it is only possible to express these 
qualities in terms of symbols. The separation of the Body, the Personality, the 
Higher Self and The Spirit is only conceptual, the symbols providing a focus for 
study of any specific aspect of the inherently indivisible whole. 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 145 

The Universe 

The Twenty-first Key 

□ PATH COLOR: Indigo 


□ PLANET: Saturn 

□ MEANING: Tau Cross, Equal 
Armed Cross 

□ DOUBLE LETTER: Power-Ser- 

One of the Night of Time 

THIRTY-TWO PATHS OF WISDOM: The Thirty-Second Path is 
the Administrative Intelligence, and it is so called because it 
directs and associates in all their operations the seven planets, 
even all of them in their own due course. 

Study of the Paths begins not with the first card, THE FOOL, but with 
the last, THE UNIVERSE . 97 This is because we ascend the Tree of Life, working 
from our material perspective (“below”) to the realms of Pure Spirit (“above”). 
Our understanding of the more refined universal patterns is based on what we 
learn on this earth. It is with the earth that serious esoteric work begins and 
ends, as long as our Divine Consciousness is functioning through a physical 

The Path of Tau, THE UNIVERSE, joins Malkuth (the Earth) with 
Yesod (the Foundation). It is the first Path out of the material condition and 
leads toward an understanding of the Personality forged by the Higher Self of 
Tiphareth for each incarnation. The Thirty Two Paths of Wisdom calls this the 
“Administrative Intelligence,” and says that it “directs and associates in all 
their operations the seven planets.” Symbolically, this Path connects the earth 

146 The Qabalistic Tarot 

with the balanced powers of Microprosopus represented by the Hexagram 
(seven planets on the Tree of Life.) 

Tau is the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Between Aleph and Tau is 
the entire universe, referred to in Christian Greek terms as the Alpha and 
Omega, the beginning and the end. Tau means cross, a T-Cross as well as one 
which is equal-armed, which is appropriate to its position on the Cube of Space 
as described in the Sepher Yetzirah. 

That book refers to Tau as the “Palace of Holiness, sustaining all 
things.” It is both “Power and Servitude.” And, when considered on the Cube of 
Space, it is found to be at the exact central point of the three Maternal Letters, 
Aleph, Mem and Shin, the symbolic forms of energy from which manifestation 
was created. The Path of THE UNIVERSE is the key to all of this because it 
falls at the point where they all cross (refer again to Figure 24). This crossing 
point, where these primary energies are balanced, is the sanctum sanctorum of 
the devotional mysteries. Some writers have even described this Path as 
“Heaven,” or “Nirvana,” meaning that here one experiences the consciousness 
of the greater universe, an ultimate reality by comparison with our sensory 
condition. And by the formula of “As above, so below,” we understand that our 
experience of the completed universal pattern below tells us something about 
the Creator above. 

One symbol which can be applied to both THE FOOL and THE 
UNIVERSE, the beginning and the end, is the Swastica or Gammadion. In 
Kether its arms spin so rapidly that they merge and are perceived as a unified 
point. Such is the lesson of THE FOOL. On the Path of THE UNIVERSE, 
however, it could be said that the Swastica has slowed its spin so that each of 
the arms is completely perceptible and are seen to be perfectly balanced around 
the central point. This is the complete expression of The One in matter. 

In discussing THE UNIVERSE we are really discussing the world of 
matter. Most people have a dualist conception of themselves: they are body and 
mind, and when they dream or meditate, the images which come to them are 
considered to be divorced from the physical. Yet the Mysteries have stated for 
generations that the cosmos is all mind, and that the distinction between mind 
and body is one of perception, not of actuality. In fact, when we close our eyes 
and see pictures, what we are first seeing is the most refined form of matter, the 
images and energy forms which are closest to the physical condition. The 
concept which must be grasped (an admittedly difficult one) is that most of the 
physical world is unseen. It is for this reason that on the scheme of the Four 
Worlds, the Malkuth of Assiah alone is described as our sphere of sensation. The 
idea is symbolized in the card by the seven pointed star representative of the 
Seven Palaces of Assiah. To experience the Path of THE UNIVERSE is to be 
taken to the gateway of these seven palaces. 

THE UNIVERSE symbolizes a Path where the components of the 
Universal Plan become apparent, without necessarily being understood. One 
may enter the Holy of Holies, and encounter these forces in such a way that he is 
“in them, but not of them.” What is important is that, as opposed to other Paths, 
the energies are all present in their full expression, and are self-balanced. This, 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 147 

as well as the idea that Tau is the central point of the Aleph, Mem and Shin 
Paths, is what is meant by the equal-armed cross. 

From the standpoint of practical mysticism, THE UNIVERSE may be 
considered the most important card in the deck, for it is the point at which we 
begin the process of inner exploration. It is the point where we step abruptly into 
a reality that may be at once frightening and reassuring because so much of 
what we encounter on this Path is of our own making. It is on this Path that we 
encounter our own individual personality consciousness, all that is inside our 
heads, divorced from the security of physical reality. It is the initiation of the 
Personality into its own structure, which is a Microcosmic Universe. At the 
same time, we encounter symbols and ideas which are of a greater conscious- 
ness than our own, and begin to see the ways in which our being relates to a 
total universal picture. 

This is a Path which can only be successfully travelled by those who 
have begun to bring their Personalities into a self-understanding balance; those 
who have not will find themselves tormented by phantoms of their own making, 
and the Gates closed to them. On the other hand, those who have truly come to 
grips with the life experience will find inner help and encouragment at every 
step. It is on the Path of THE UNIVERSE that one discovers the extent to 
which the process of inner exploration is guided and, particularly, the very real 
protection and assistance given mankind by the Archangels. Until one begins 
these exercises, the Archangels are merely an abstraction, something in which 
one can vaguely believe or disbelieve. 

A word of caution might be in order here. Insofar as THE UNIVERSE is 
a Path of entry to the Astral, it must be borne in mind that the Astral “seeks to 
deceive.” A great many people believe themselves to be on one Path or another 
when they are, in actuality, entertaining themselves with an extended fantasy. 
We must be extremely cautious in accepting any of the images which appear to 
us as a “reality” of any sort, until we have applied every test of reason and 
feeling. There comes a time when we know that what we are experiencing could 
not possibly be of our own making because we are actually learning. We are 
acquiring new information which can often be verified or corroborated by 
research. One way or the other, a considerable amount of the gross must be 
sorted out before we come to the subtle. This is one of the most important lessons 
of THE UNIVERSE, a Path which must be approached with the virtue of 
Malkuth, that of discrimination. It is only through discrimination that we can 
place ourselves in the “Administrative” balance symbolized by the dancing 
woman draped with the Caph-shaped scarf (reference to the WHEEL OF 
FORTUNE) and surrounded by the animal symbols of the Four Elements. 

In Qabalistic terms, what is represented is, again, the principle of the 
Four united by a Fifth which is Spirit. Here we may recall that the earliest 
Qabalists (as in the Sepher Yetzirah) discussed only three Elements: Air, Water 
and Fire, with Earth and Spirit being a later addition to the philosophy. And, as 
we have seen, the Tree of Life has changed form over the centuries to 
accomodate such conceptual changes. One such important change has related 
to the Thirty-Second Path which in some schemes is the only Path connecting 

148 The Qabalistic Tarot 

the sphere of sensation to the rest of the Tree. The addition of the Paths of Shin 
(JUDGMENT) and Qoph (THE MOON) while primarily bringing the number of 
Paths in line with the Hebrew Alphabet, secondarily declared a direct 
connection between Malkuth and the two Side Pillars. 

One very interesting illustration from the Sixteenth Century shows a 
man holding the entire Tree by the Path of THE UNIVERSE . 98 So we see that 
for four hundred years, at least, the essential interpretation of this Path as an 
experiential foundation for consciously travelling all of the other Paths has not 
changed, though the concept has been slightly mitigated by the addition of the 
two Paths. 

The principle that we grasp the entire Tree through what is taught on 
the Path of the Universe is very profound, and brings us back to the idea of the 
“As Above, so below.” We have discussed the “Will to Form,” of Binah, the 
Great Mother, which is the origin of life consciousness, and which is Saturn in 
the exalted Supernal Realm. This is the same energy, now completely expressed, 
found on the Thirty-Second Path. The female figure at the center of the card is 
the fullest expression of the Great Mother who is THE EMPRESS. She is Isis, 
the Aima Elohim, she is Binah, she is Saturn, she is all the principles behind 
what we perceive as matter, the Cosmic Dancer who administers and activates 
the Elements. She is also a doorway to and from Malkuth, Saturn who both 
gives life and destroys it, the great tester who rules both birth and death. When 
we die, leaving behind our “animal skin,” it is on this Path that we rise like the 
Dancer, surrounded by a ring of stars. 

All of the key Tarot decks are agreed that the female figure should be 
surrounded by an oval shape of some sort. In Crowley’s deck this is a ring of 
stars. In the Marseilles and Waite decks this is a wreath. In the Golden Dawn 
deck the oval is formed by twelve spheres (the twelve Signs of the Zodiac) bound 
together by seventy-two pearls (the Shemhamaphoresch, or Seventy-Two 
Names of God). What is symbolized is both the womb of the human female, 
through which the child passes in birth, and the Great Womb into which the 
soul passes in death. 

The profound symbolism of the Great Mother through which one passes 
as a doorway to and from life is, unfortunately, minimized by some writers 
(including Case) who state that “tradition” claims the female figure to be 
hermaphroditic. That idea is unreasonable, but may be an honest attempt on 
the part of some Qabalistic theoreticians to reconcile the feminity of the Path 
with the Magical Image of Yesod into which it leads, a “Beautiful Naked 
Man .” 99 The latter represents the eternal outpouring of the Christ-Spirit from 
Tiphareth, personified within Yesod before it passes down to Malkuth. The 
Christian mystery is not simply an event of two thousand years ago to be 
recalled with reverence, it is a secret key to a natural pattern. The Christ 
(Buddha or Osiris or Krishna) force continues to be bom into our world, be 
sacrificed for the benefit of mankind, resurrected and assumed. This is, like the 
Yod Heh Vau Heh, continual to the end of time, which will be the end of the 
race’s need for sensory experience. Time is, of course, one of Saturn’s primary 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life M9 

As long as we are functioning within the framework of time, an event, 
including the downpouring and uprising of Tiphareth force, must have a 
beginning, a middle and an end. Life processes run in waves, or spirals which 
come back upon themselves. This is the natural course of the akashic fluid of 
Yesod. Thus, again, is the woman shown dancing. She swirls and revolves as 
opposed to her most abstract form of energy, THE EMPRESS, where she is 
placed solidly on a Supernal Throne. This spiral Force of nature is directed by 
the wands which she carries: they represent active and passive energy, each of 
which has two poles. 

Crowley’s card shows these natural forces as the serpent Kundalini, 
described as “Coiled in Yesod.” This is a reference to the primary sexual forces 
of nature to be encountered with THE UNIVERSE. These are the forces which 
we learn to direct in ourselves and onto which we impose the strictures of Binah, 
the Great Mother, the Great Sea. 

Water is very important to this Path which is the Great Sea of 
consciousness in its most dense and difficult expression. The Thirty-Second 
Path might be considered a dark cave, filled with treacherous caverns and 
tunnels, some of which lead to the Light, but others of which lead to the 



The Twentieth Key 

□ PATH COLOR: Glowing Orange 


□ MEANING: Tooth 


of the Primal Fire 

150 The Qabalistic Tarot 

THIRTY-TWO PATHS OF WISDOM: The Thirty-first Path is 
the Perpetual Intelligence; but why is it so-called 1 ? Because it 
regulates the motions of the Sun and Moon in their proper order, 
each in an orbit convenient for it. 

The Path of Shin, JUDGMENT, joins Malkuth (the Earth) with Hod 
(Splendour), the base Sephira and completion of the Pillar of Severity. The 
Earth is thus connected with that which is the ultimate expression of Binah, the 
Will to Form. It is an activating Path of intellect, while its opposite, THE 
MOON is a formative Path of emotion. 

What is shown here as “judgment” is a process undergone by the 
Personality as it strives to become conscious of its own inner working. But the 
judgment is not momentary or limited. It is, as the Thirty Two Paths of Wisdom 
describes, perpetual. It is the continuous monitoring of the progress of the 
Personality toward universal consciousness. That which is deemed unworthy 
by the angelic powers, invoked by the desire of the student travelling the Paths, 
is slowly burned away by the redeeming Fire, a process which is actually 

The Golden Dawn text calls this Path the “Splendour of the Material 
World,” pointing out the relationship of the Path to the physical body. What is 
shown here is a resurrection, a rebirth. This resurrection is based on the 
developments of the opposite card to this Path, THE MOON, and relates to 
actual physiological changes which occur in the student as the result of the 
disciplined quest for a greater reality. In other words, the resurrected body is 
physiologically rebuilt, a process stimulated by the energies of Qoph, THE 
MOON. This is what Paul Foster Case describes as the process of building a 
Master’s body. 

This is also a Path where the components of the Personality first 
encountered in THE UNIVERSE, are critically analyzed and evaluated 
(judged). It is the bright and fiery probationary path of the intellect, as THE 
MOON is the dark, cold and watery probationary Path of the emotions. These 
are Paths introductory to the true nature of the Self in incarnation and can thus 
be extremely difficult. In fact all of the Elemental Paths (THE FOOL, THE 
HANGED MAN, JUDGMENT) are difficult to understand. The problem arises 
partly in that on each of these Paths all of the Elements are present, in either 
expressed or unexpressed form. We shall return to this concept. 

First, let us consider the pattern of the Maternals. The Sepher Yetzirah 
states that Air produces Water which produces Fire. THE FOOL is pure Air, 
THE HANGED MAN is Air acted upon by Water, JUDGMENT is Air and 
Water acted upon by Fire within the vehicle of Earth (the crucible which, in 
Spiritual Alchemy, is our own body). 

The Golden Dawn and Waite cards picture Air above, with Water 
between two sections of Earth. It is understood that the Air, Water and Earth 
are being heated and activated by the Fire. There are no flames here, for the 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 151 

action is a slow and steady (perpetual) one brought about by the Archangel. 
This effect is on the component dualities of the individual, which are symbolized 
by Fire and Water: Mind-consciousness (Water) is activated by the Dynamic 
Principle (Fire) in the presence of the equilibriating Spirit (Air) within the 
physical vehicle (Earth). The Path of JUDGMENT is, therefore, aimed at 
producing a balance within the individual, necessary for a total understanding 
of the Personality structure and its relationship to the greater universe. 

But to say that “balance” is produced on this Path raises a question. One 
might well ask how it is possible for there to be balance in any Path which is not 
on the Middle Pillar. The answer is found in the idea that every symbol is a 
duality, containing its own opposite. As with the flashing colors, a symbol is 
only functional insofar as it is a self-contained balance of two extremes. To 
extend this principle to the Paths, we see that each Path must contain the 
essential components of its opposite Path. Here we may return to the example of 
Hod and Netzach, which relate to JUDGMENT and THE MOON respectively. 
Intellect applied without feeling is as pathological as feeling applied without 
intellect. When we travel the Path of JUDGMENT we learn the lessons of THE 
MOON. And, taken to the most refined aspect of the Tree of Life, when we travel 
the Path of THE MAGICIAN, we learn the lessons of THE FOOL. Such cards 
are antithetical, but mutually explanatory. It is not possible to deal with any 
card without its opposite energy being present. And since the cards represent 
types of consciousness, it can be said that everything which we experience, 
every idea, every activity, co-exists in us with its opposite. 

Such lessons on the Paths are extremely practical, although this cannot 
be obvious as one begins to juggle the slippery concepts related to the four 
symbolic Elements. On the other hand, the pictures on the cards bear a strong 
relationship to the visual experience of the Paths, and a great deal can be 
learned by meditation on them. Path images are archetypal representations of 
actual inner roads built through centuries of mind work by the most advanced 
men and women of all ages. These images are largely constructs built to assist 
us by those who have gone before. It is in this that many falter, believing the 
construct (the concretized symbol on the astral plane) to have a reality of its 
own. It is only beyond the lower astral that one touches upon the realities which 
activate the symbols. 

We may step onto the JUDGMENT Path and experience initially what 
is shown in the Tarot card. Yet beyond these visual constructs, we come to 
understand that the Path is the ennervating, activating effect of the cosmic 
motive principle on the individual consciousness: the Fiery Spirit permeates the 
Personality consciousness in the descent of energy into matter. In the 
purposeful ascent of the Path of Shin the last illusions of the separateness of the 
Personality are burned away. 

To reiterate the Qabalistic symbolism: Shin contains all four Elements: 
Fire, Water, Air and Earth. This concept may be explained developmentally: 
The evolution of the cosmos is from the most simple to the most complex. It goes 
from nothing to something. This is (applying the principle of “As Above, so 

152 The Qabalistic Tarot 

Below”) a process not dissimilar to that of the Zygote, which begins as a single 
cell, is fertilized and grows into a living human organism. The cells of the 
Zygote multiply over and over again until they are a body which is the 
receptacle of the Holy Spirit on this earth. At any stage of development, from 
the single fertilized cell, to the finished product, the whole is implicit in the 
developing parts. Thus does the One grow to the ten or ten thousand or ten 
billion uncountable mind cells which form the corpus of the universe. The 
ultimate simplicity is THE FOOL, and the ultimate complexity is THE 
UNIVERSE. But THE UNIVERSE and all the other cards are implicit, 
unexpressed, in THE FOOL. Thus, with the cards in between, we find different 
stages of that which is expressed and unexpressed. Given any specific card on 
the Tree, the energy of all the cards above it are expressed while the energies of 
those cards below it are present but unexpressed. Each defines a stage of 
development. And, using this logic, it may be appreciated that in THE FOOL 
Air is expressed, while Water and Fire are implicit. In THE HANGED MAN Air 
and Water are expressed and Fire is implicit. When we come to JUDGMENT we 
again find Air and Water expressed, now set in motion by the full expression of 

Here it must be repeated that these patterns will be utterly meaningless 
until a real understanding of that which is symbolized by the various 
“Elements” emerges. Every Qabalistic symbol relates to some specific part of 
the Self, the Tarot Keys being very precise definitions of parts of the human 

aspects of the normal waking consciousness of the Personality. They also 
represent stages of self understanding. JUDGMENT is the card where the 
divine forces meet the aspirant for the Mysteries, where the Personality is lifted 
from the tomb of matter and evaluated on the extent to which it has balanced 
the four Elements of Malkuth. It is for this reason that people have such varying 
experiences on this Path; each personality must face what it is and has been, 
very squarely, answering the call of the Angel whose presence has been invoked 
by the Fire of desire. 

In all accounts it is Gabriel who blows the trumpet of the Last 
Judgment, and most will assume that it is Gabriel who is represented here. But 
this is not a Last Judgment at all, and the Archangel is Michael, Angelic Ruler 
of Hod. 

Further information about this card is conveyed by the meaning of the 
Hebrew Letter, insofar as the name of each letter is a word. Yet, as such words 
are attributed to the Tarot Keys there is wide latitude for interpretation within 
the confines of the qualities described by the given word. Shin, in this case, 
means tooth, suggesting hardness, sharpness and biting. It can be interpreted 
as the teeth which chew prior to the ingestion of energy into the system, i.e., as 
that which causes a release of energy (the Kundalini force). Tooth can also be 
taken to mean that which kills, here meaning the final blow to the perception of 
the Personality as separate. 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 153 

Such descriptive words amplify the symbolism of numbers, so important 
to the Hermetic Qabalah. As has been demonstrated, the number 300 assigned 
to Shin reduces to 3, the number of the Sephira Binah; the number of the card, 
20, reduces to 2, that of THE HIGH PRIESTESS. The principle here is that 
numbers of the Hebrew letters are reduced and manipulated relative to the ten 
Sephiroth, while the numbers of the cards (0-21) relate to other cards. Of course, 
the connection with other cards is made on more than numerical grounds. For 
example, the fact that Shin is Fire suggests thta it relates to two other important 
cards, THE TOWER (Mars) and THE SUN. 

This connection with THE SUN is made explicit in the Golden Dawn 
“Book T,” which describes the angel here as Michael, Ruler of Solar Fire. It is he 
who blows the trumpet calling down the influence of Binah. Another reference 
to the Supemals is the Red Cross Banner, which stands for the Four Rivers of 
Paradise, as well as the four letters of the Divine Name. 

The rainbow in the Order’s card, containing serpents representing the 
Fiery Seraphim, is undoubtedly that which surrounds the fiery Throne of God 
described in Revelation. 100 This rainbow encloses the Archangel who seems to 
emerge from the Fire triangle itself. 

At the base of the card, rising from the tomb facing the angelic presence, 
is Arel, Ruler of Latent Heat. He is also the candidate for the mysteries who 
follows this Path of Fire. The male figure at the left is Samael, Ruler of Volcanic 
Fire. Opposite him is Anael, Ruler of the Astral Light, represented in duplicate 
in that she is Demeter-Persephone and Isis-Nephthys. 

Crowley’s card, called “The Aeon,” departs completely from tradition, 
and is important in that his personal philosophy is more imbedded in this 
imagery than in that of most other cards of the Thoth Tarot. Overall, the 
Crowley deck is illustrative of the Book of the Law, a document which he stated 
was revealed to him and which is the core of his teaching. The Aeon also relates 
to what he called the Stele of Revealing. 101 

This card, he explained, supersedes all earlier concepts of the Key, and 
shows the harmonious and spiritual state of human existence which will be on 
the earth in the mid twenty-second century. That condition is symbolized by the 
Sky Goddess Nuith, and her consort Hadit (represented as a golden orb of light). 
They produce Horus, here shown seated and standing, his active and passive 
forms. Crowley also points out that another name for Horus is Heru, which is 
synonymous with Hru, “The Great Angel set over the Tarot.” 

What Crowley proposes here is highly consistent with Qabalistic 
doctrine, i.e., that the system evolves to meet the needs of spiritual evolution of 
the race. Assuming that JUDGMENT represents a stage in the development of 
the race and of the individual Personality consciousness, he is suggesting that 
there will come a time in the not so far distant future when the spiritual make-up 
of mankind will have so advanced that JUDGMENT, as previously known, will 
no longer describe the experience of this Path. He further asserts that we are 
now passing into a five hundred year period of extreme darkness and trial, 
preparatory to a new Aeon of Light. 102 

154 The Qabalistic Tarot 

The Sun 

The Nineteenth Key 

□ PATH COLOR: Orange 


□ PLANET: Sun 

□ MEANING: Head 

□ DOUBLE LETTER: Fertility- 

□ ESOTERIC TITLE: The Lord of 
the Fire of the World 




THIRTY-TWO PATHS OF WISDOM: The Thirtieth Path is the 
Collecting Intelligence and is so-called because Astrologers 
deduce from it the judgment of the Stars, and of the celestial 
signs, and the perfections of their science, according to the rules 
of their resolutions. 

The Path of Resh connects Hod (Splendor) with Yesod (the Foundation), 
and is the first of the Paths of the Personality triad to be encountered in rising 
on the Tree. It is an active Path on the intellectual-formative side; it is the 
activating force of the Personality which, like the Higher Self and the Spiritual 
Self, is composed of a “masculine” (intuitive-dynamic, Yod) and a “feminine” 
(intellectual-formative, Heh) and a set of energies which are the result of the 
opposing interaction of the two (equilibriating, Vau). 

THE SUN (Resh) is described as the “Collecting Intelligence,” meaning 
that it exercises control over a number of given components, in this case the 
Signs of the Zodiac which are symbolized by the twelve rays emanating from 
THE SUN. These Signs are the twelve guideposts of Personality and receptacles 
of Planetary influences, one of which governs the birth and life course of each 
incarnation. Thus the Sun is central not only to the incarnation at hand, but 
acts as a link between the Personalities which have been experienced in other 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 155 

incarnations. It is also collecting in that all of the component parts of the 
Personality, discovered on these lower Paths, are here infused with the dual 
action of the Sun, light and warmth. It may appear curious, but these are 
considered intellectual qualities. 

The activity of this Path is intellectual. In fact, the Path of THE SUN is 
the highest level of the human intellect, as THE STAR is the highest level of the 
emotions. They are balanced by THE TOWER, although looking at that card 
may hardly inspire confidence that a balance is taking place. Yet this 
represents the effect of the combined energies of THE SUN and THE STAR. 
More will be said of this in a later section. 

Resh means head, which is consistent with the idea that this is the 
highest Path of human intellect, and that this is the “Collecting Intelligence.” 
In this regard there is an interesting illustration from an alchemical manuscript 
of 1606, showing a figure with an orb-shaped body which is headless, but holds 
the Sun above. Beside this figure is written: “The World.” 103 The head is the Sun 
itself, held above the material body; without the Sun-head, there could be no 
world. Mathers corroborates this idea by calling THE SUN the “Splendour of 
the Material World.” So the card basically represents the intellect acting upon 
the dualities of the human condition, consciousness and its earthly vehicle. This 
is the point of connection of the human intellect with the higher intellect, the 
Greater Life. The Sun is also the Son who carries on the work of the Father. 

The Thirtieth Path is a composite one: The Four Elements, the Signs of 
the Zodiac and the Planets are all involved, under the rulership of the Sun, as is 
symbolized by the Hexagram. That figure means the perfect integration of 
Personality and Higher Self. On the Tree of Life this is shown as the interaction 
of the Astral and Ethical Triangles, God the Son of Tiphareth being primary to 
both. However the energies may be symbolized, the Path of THE SUN is a very 
important initiatory one. 

The experience of THE SUN is very profound, for it is an introduction to 
the inner sun which is the light of the personality as the physical sun is the 
light of the material world. On this Path one experiences the warmth and light 
but, as on the plane of sensation, it is a sun at which one cannot look directly 
without suffering damage. The opposites attributed to Resh by the Sepher 
Yetzirah, fertility and barrenness, remind us that the same sun which illu- 
minates and causes growth can destroy utterly. The blessing of the farmer is 
the curse of the solitary traveler in the desert, and it is on this Path that one 
discovers the great potentials of this power. This is the initiation of the 
Personality to the great source of inner light, an initiation which takes place 
within the physical vehicle (walled garden) and affects the dual components of 
the Lower Self. 

An important point must be repeated here, one all too often neglected by 
those who discuss the Paths: Work on the Paths brings about definite 
physiochemical changes in the human body. In his study course, The Thirty- 
Two Paths of Wisdom, Paul Case emphasizes the extent to which this is the 
case. In describing the Path of Resh, he says of the man who has achieved 

156 The Qabalistic Tarot 

. . .marked inner differences from the average person are due to 
psychological contrasts to the mental states of ordinary human 
beings, but they are also the outer signs of organic changes inside 
the skin of the new creature. He is chemically and structurally 
unlike genus homo. There are different constitutents in his blood 
stream. Through his nervous system pass currents of force not 
present in most human bodies because in his organism channels 
are open which are closed in the physical vehicles of most persons. 
Centers in the nervous system and in the brain, and glands related 
to them, function differently in the body of an adept from the way 
they do in the bodies of the greater number of his contem- 
poraries . 104 

It must also be borne in mind that the Personality, the component parts 
of which are symbolized by these lower Paths, functions through the body as an 
experience-collecting vehicle for the Spirit. One of the most serious mistakes 
which can be made is to conceptually divorce the physical body from the Powers 
which created it and which function through it. This is the crucible of the 
Alchemists, and the Sun is an important symbol in the Alchemical process of 
“turning lead into Gold.” 

The Paths of the Personality lead directly into the physical vehicle, i.e., 
that consciousness which we know as “self’ is directly connected to our bodies. 
The Higher Self functions through the Personality if its influence is to be 
brought to the physical plane, as Pure Spirit must function through the Higher 
Self. Of course, there is no actual separation between these three: The Tree of 
Life describes a racial perception of a pattern of separation. But since perception 
varies widely from organism to organism, each individual must literally create 
his own Qabalah. The experience of the Path of Resh is critical to the 
development of this individual Qabalah. It is, moreover, the Path where one 
may receive the acceptance and imprint of those beings who direct the inner 
learning experience of the student. It is the point at which the student may be 
admitted to candidacy for the greater initiation of Tiphareth. 

A considerable number of discoveries are made on this Path leading into 
Hod, a realm described by some as the point where the Inner Teachers exert 
their influence on the material world. This is a Path where the nature of the 
relationship between mind and body may become clear, where one begins to 
understand the control and limitations of the intellect. It is also a Path of 
awakening to the use of the tremendous sexual power of Yesod. It is the point at 
which sexuality is understood to be the great “secret” force manipulated by the 
initiate of the Mysteries. 

Yesod is the Moon, sexuality, the ebbing and flowing Astral Light 
beneath our material existence. Hod is Mercury, the first differentiation of the 
specific Personality. It is hermaphroditic, both male and female, as these 
qualities have yet to be separated out when considering the Sephira on a 
downward course toward mainfestation. The Path of THE SUN, thus consider- 
ed developmentally, is the point of childhood of the emerging Personality as it 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 157 

builds toward a new incarnation. When we travel this Path upwards, we return 
to this point of new innocence. It is, quite literally, a growing younger, a process 
of birth backwards until we reach a stage where there is some recollection of the 
source from which we emerged. 

This youthfulness, the Childhood of the Sun, is represented in Waite’s 
card. Here, following an iconography developed by L6vi, a child is shown riding 
a white horse, symbol of Apollo, the Sun God. The implication is that on this 
Path we become the child Apollo. 

The Golden Dawn card, basically following the Marseilles version, 
shows two naked children in a garden enclosed by a wall. One is standing on 
earth, the other is standing on Water. These are the purest expression of the 
positive (male) and negative (female) principles in incarnation, interwoven as in 
the Chinese Yin and Yang. The active male principle operates through the solid 
earth, while the passive female principle operates through the fluid conscious- 
ness of water. They hold hands to indicate that their activities are reciprocal. 
This is also a reference to Gemini, the sign which links Taurus (Earth) and 
Cancer (Water). Gemini was also the sign referred by the Greeks and Romans to 
Apollo and to the Sun. 

The relationship of the Sun to the Zodiac is of some importance, as is 
indicated by the twelve rays in both the Golden Dawn and Crowley cards (Waite 
used 22 and the Marseilles deck 16). The Zodiac relates to Chokmah, from which 
the energy of this Path ultimately derives. The patterns of this energy are, 
moreover, shown by the salient and wavy rays, the alternating male and female 
currents. The seven falling Yods (Chokmah, again, being the ultimate source of 
the Yod) refer to the energies of the planets, under solar rulership, descending 
into matter. 

Crowley’s card is related to JUDGMENT, which he called The Aeon. It 
shows Heru-Ra-Ha, the Lord of Light who is the ruler of the new aeon to come, 
the next stage of human development. Appreciating this emphasis, it is 
curiously amusing to realize that Crowley has based the card on his own family 
crest, “the Sun charged with a rose on a mont vert.” 105 

According to his explanation, the rose surrounded by the Signs of the 
Zodiac shows the development of solar influence. The green mound of earth 
beneath the rose-sun means fertility, and is so shaped as to suggest aspiration 
toward the higher. As in the other versions, there is a walled enclosure, but here 
the children are outside of it, meaning that humanity is no longer bound by the 
“prejudices of the people that date morally from about 25,000 B.C.” 106 Most 
interesting, perhaps, is Crowley’s point that the cross, from the formula of the 
Rose-Cross, will expand into the Sun and twelve rays. It will no longer be 
limited by four arms, but will radiate outward freely. 

One especially significant idea connected with this Path is, as the 
Golden Dawn ritual of the Twenty-Ninth Path states, that the “Sun embraces 
the whole of creation in its rays.” 107 This idea is conveyed in a variety of ways, 
such as by the four sunflowers and twenty-two rays in Waite’s card, meaning 
the Four Worlds and Twenty-Two Paths. The Golden Dawn card shows ten 
flowers, to represent the totality of the Tree of Life. And Crowley’s card, as has 

158 The Qabalistic Tarot 

been noted, attempts to show the expansion of the Rose and Cross in 
relationship to the central Sun of manifestation. Thus, it too refers to the 
totality of creation made warm and bright by the rays of the Sun. Of course it is 
necessary, once more, to observe the distinction between the two sides of the 
Abyss. Creation and light mean all of Microprosopus to which Tiphareth is 
central. Potential, yet darkness, refers to Macroprosopus, i.e., the Supernal 


The Moon 

The Eighteenth Key 

□ PATH COLOR: Crimson (Ultra- 


□ SIGN: Pisces (Mutable Water) 

□ MEANING: Back of Head, Ear 


of Flux and Reflux. The Child of 
the Sons of the Mighty. 

THIRTY-TWO PATHS OF WISDOM: The Twenty-ninth Path is 
the Corporeal Intelligence, so-called because it forms every body 
which is formed beneath the whole set of worlds and the 
increment of them. 

The Path of Qoph connects Netzach (Victory) with Malkuth (The 
Kingdom), and is described not only as the “Victory of the Material World,” but 
as the “deceptive effect of the apparent power of Material Forces.” Crowley calls 
this Path the “Gateway of Resurrection. . .the threshold of life. . .or spiritual re- 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 159 

birth, may be considered at two levels: First, in the course of incarnation, it is 
the stage of the soul’s organization of the physical body which it will inhabit. It 
is a “Sleep” (as attributed to Qoph by the Sepher Yetzirah) preceding the 
waking mortal consciousness, a form of pre-consciousness differentiating into 
matter from the collective unconscious of Netzach. Second, in terms of the 
spiritually-developing individual, it is a conquest of the phantoms reflected 
from the material world, what the Golden Dawn described as “The Child of the 
Sons of the Mighty,” meaning the “creations of the created.” This is a watery 
Path of probation, where the student must face and conquer the phantoms of the 
darkest recesses of his own mind, as well as those of the race.In that sense it 
can be a terrible and frightening Path, involving real dangers to the emotional 
stability of those who are not strong enough to handle this experience; such 
inner disturbance may actually result in serious physical problems. On the 
other hand, tradition states that the successful treading of this Path confers the 
powers of “bewitchments and casting illusions.” When we slay the dragons of 
the deep recesses of our sleep-consciousness, and understand their mechanisms, 
we gain the capacity to manipulate those qualities in ourselves as well as in 

The meaning of Qoph is the back of the head. It is behind the head itself, 
which is Resh (THE SUN). Thus, what is symbolized by THE MOON is anterior 
to the bright intellectual awareness of THE SUN. At this level of the Tree the 
Moon only reflects the light of the Sun; the Path at the center of the card is going 
from the dark side of the Moon, toward the light side on which the Sun shines 
directly. Here is should be noted that Crowley disagreed pointedly with the 
Golden Dawn and Waite interpretation which say that the Moon is in its 
increase. The rationale given is that the crayfish is the symbol of Cancer, 
meaning that when the Sun is in Pisces, the Moon will be increasing in Cancer. 
So the Crayfish emerging from the Water, at one level, was intended to mean: 
“the Sun below the horizon as he ever is when the Moon is increasing above .” 109 

Another important idea expressed in the Golden Dawn manuscripts is 
that of the crayfish imagery developed from the Scarab or Dung-Beetle . 110 
Crowley developed this idea, making the dung-bettle central to his card and 
emphasizing the darker aspects of the Path. He called this “The Waning moon 
of witchcraft, and abominable deeds. . .the poisoned darkness which is the 
condition of the rebirth of light .” 11 The rebirth of the Light out of a hideous 
and abominable darkness is his primary concern, one admirably symbolized 
by the beetle, a reference to Kephera, Father of the Gods, and the great God 
of creation and resurrection . 112 The Beetle, or Scarabaeus, (called kheprera 
by the Egyptians) was the God’s key symbol. As a species, this is a beetle 
which lays its eggs in a ball of dung, which it pushes along, and from which 
the eggs eventually hatch as they are subjected to the warmth of the Sun. The 
dung-ball was considered to be like the Sun itself, for it contained all that was 
necessary for growth and nourishment. 

In some respects the form emerging from the waters is both the highest 
and the lowest. It is the very originator of life as it is Kephera, the God who is 
said to have emerged as a beetle “from the watery mass of Nu.” It is the highest 

160 The Qabalistic Tarot 

creative force, beginning its material self-expression as the lowest organic form. 
The crayfish means the organic evolution of the human race; it also refers to the 
cellular development of the physical vehicle from the inner roots of nature. And, 
as an originator of form, Pisces (ruled by Jupiter) relates to Chesed. The very 
earliest Golden Dawn papers, the so-called Ancient Cypher Manuscripts say of 
Pisces “by it the waters of Chesed flow down ,” 113 meaning that it is a primary 
formative consciousness at the lowest level of the Tree. 

Of course, the most important Tarot reference to the Moon is with THE 
HIGH PRIESTESS, the Path of Gimel leading directly from God the Father to 
God the Son. The High Priestess is the source of the crystal clear waters of 
consciousness emerging from the Godhead. The same waters are seen here in 
THE MOON, but they are polluted! This is not to imply that there is anything 
intrinsically evil on this Path. Rather, its phantoms relate to the density of the 
physical body, that compound organism affected by all three Paths leading into 
Malkuth: JUDGMENT, THE MOON and THE UNIVERSE. As has been 
described, the process of travelling the Paths has a definite effect on the body. 
The physical vehicle is subtly modified as the Light descends into it, and as the 
Personality becomes increasingly aware of the presence and activities of the 
Higher Self. 

Relative to the human body, the Path of THE MOON is an organizing 
(formative) one. It is described in the Thirty-Two Paths of Wisdom as the 
“Corporeal Intelligence,” which Case tells us means “body consciousness.” He 
notes also that the root of the word “corporeal” in Hebrew means “to rain 
upon .” 114 In each of the three cards Yods are shown “raining” down upon the 
Path. Or, as Pausanius described, these might be the tears of the Moon-Goddess, 
which caused the Nile to rise and fall . 115 There is, in any event, a general 
agreement that something descends from the Moon to the Earth on this Path as 
is symbolized by the falling Yods. 

In Waite’s card there are fifteen yods, a possible reference to the bondage 
of matter symbolized by the fifteenth Key, THE DEVIL. The Golden Dawn card 
shows four yods, one for the powers of each of the Four Worlds, while Crowley 
uses nine as a reference to Yesod. He describes these as “drops of impure 
blood ,” 116 meaning the cycle of menstruation. He describes the Path as a stream 
of serum tinged with blood. 

Indeed, the activity of menstruation and its dark blood is intimately 
connected to this Path, the Path of childbirth presided over by the Greek 
Goddess, Artemis . 111 As the sister of Apollo, the Sun, Artemis was the Moon. 
Like her Roman counterpart, Diana, she was a goddess of the hunt, travelling 
through brutal and mountainous woods with her pack of hounds. Thus is 
childbirth linked with the most savage aspects of Nature. The Goddess, like the 
Path, can be vicious and unforgiving, her legend being filled with qualities at 
once dark and vindictive. Any breech of her regulations was immediately and 
ferociously punished. So, from the standpoint of Greek legend, the dogs of THE 
MOON may be considered those of Artemis, ready to attack and destroy men 
who displease her. The very idea is barbaric and uncivilized, as is the Path of 
Qoph. This is a primitive Path, one of raw animal nature. It is a Path of animal 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 161 

instincts (the law of the jungle), passions and energies uncontrolled by 
intellectual, moral or ethical considerations. This can be a very cruel Path, 
showing us aspects of ourselves which society forces us to repress, but which are 
an integral and undeniable part of our human make-up. Yet we approach the 
images and lessons of this Path with our whole being, applying reason to that 
which we encounter, as we apply feeling to that which is encountered on the 
Path of JUDGMENT. 

THE MOON is one of the cards for which tradition has provided a very 
definite structure, both the Golden Dawn and Waite cards being wholly 
dependant on the design shown in the Marseilles version: Two dogs (in Waite’s 
deck they are a dog and a wolf) stand threateningly beneath a personified moon, 
between two desolate towers. A crayfish is in the water below. Here it is at least 
interesting to observe that in the Marseilles version no Path is shown, and it is 
only by inference that one realizes that the crayfish will eventually pass 
between the two very ferocious dogs. 

Mathers and Crowley were in agreement that these should actually be 
considered the jackals of Anubis, the scavengers of the dead. Anubis was the 
jackal god, and the great god of the Underworld, charged with both the 
judgment and the embalming of the deceased. In the Tarot this means the 
natural deterioration of the physical body in death, the return of its energy into 
the unseen, as well as a suggestion of correspondence with the Path of Shin, 
JUDGMENT. The implication is that the activity of natural forces on the body 
in death is concurrent with the “weighing of the soul” on that Path. 

Anubis is a very complex god of lunar opposites, as is suggested by 
Crowley’s dual figures. Anubis is a god of light and of darkness, of death and of 
resurrection, whose cult was a fascination to those ancient societies in the 
shadow of Egypt. Describing the subtleties of this deity’s cult to the Romans, 
Plutarch wrote: 

By Anubis they understand the horizontal circle, which divides the 
invisible part of the world, which they call Nephthys, from the 
visible, to which they give the name Isis; and as this circle equally 
touches upon the confines of both light and darkness, it may be 
looked upon as common to them both -and from this circumstance 
arose that resemblance which they imagine between Anubis and 
the dog, it being observed of this animal, that he is equally 
watchful by day as night. In short, the Egyptian Anubis seems to 
be of much the same power and nature as the Greek Hecate, a deity 
common both to the celestial and infernal regions . 118 

Pursuant to the idea of Anubis and resurrection, there is a definite 
relationship to the Christ legend. It can be said, however whimsically, that in 
an obscure medieval symbolism the lobster is a symbol of the risen Christ . 119 
And, one must be exceedingly cautious in dismissing such symbolism out of 
hand, because of the Tarot’s very elusive, but unquestionably medieval, origins. 
In the fourteenth century every symbol, however occult, was related to Christ. 

162 The Qabalistic Tarot 

One way or the other, birth, death and resurrection are pivotal concepts 
on the Path of THE MOON. These are not symbolic processes; they are 
biological, and occur in the darkness and the light of our sense perception. The 
energy process, a cyclic wave motion, is shown by Crowley as a pattern of both 
above and below, linked by the Beetle of the Sun. 

To reiterate the meaning of this murky Path in the most simple of terms: 
this is the natural energy from which our physical bodies develop in the womb. 
It is a process that is continual throughout our lives, as cells die and are 
replaced. The work of this Path is ended with the dissolution of energy back to 
its source, which is Netzach. 

To understand this Path is to understand the relationship of our 
personality-consciousness to the physical vehicle built for each incarnation, a 
very difficult undertaking for most people, who perceive themselves as having 
existence only through their bodies. Here the meaning of the simple letter Qoph, 
sleep, gives an important clue. During the cyclic phase of withdrawal of 
consciousness from the physical, most people continue to act on information 
and fantasies closely related to their bodily existence. Their dreams are filled 
with the shades of matter which, once consciously transcended, is the conquest 
of the Path of THE MOON. 

The Star 

The Seventeenth Key 

□ PATH COLOR: Violet 


□ SIGN: Aquarius (Fixed Air) 

□ MEANING: Fish Hook 

□ SIMPLE LETTER: Imagination 

ter of the Firmament: the Dwel- 
ler between the Waters. 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 163 

THIRTY-TWO PATHS OF WISDOM: The Twenty-eighth Path 
is called the Natural Intelligence, and it is so-called because 
through it is consummated and perfected the Nature of every 
existing thing beneath the Sun. 

The Path of Tzaddi, THE STAR, connects Netzach (Victory) with Yesod 
(The Foundation). It is a very powerful Path which points out the way in which 
the Divine Energy inherent in each individual is properly approached. The 
letter Tzaddi means fish hook, implying meditation, a process closely linked 
with the use of imagination. In these terms meditation is described not as 
taking-out of something, but as a putting-in (merging) of two streams of 
individual consciousness with the greater consciousness. And while this is a 
path of primal intuition, the vessels represent a separation and then re- 
integration of the Chokmah force (feelings and intuition, at this level) and 
Binah force (intellect). The symbolism of the fish hook in meditation is easily 
extended to the Tree of Life: The Hook (Tzaddi, THE STAR) is put into the 
waters of Mem (THE HANGED MAN) to catch the fish (Nun, DEATH). Water 
is, again, a symbol of consciousness. As we experiment with meditation and 
imaginative visualization, casting ourselves into the Universal Sea, we seek an 
understanding of the very processes of life and death. 

The Thirty-Two Paths of Wisdom describes this Path as the Natural 
Intelligence, suggesting the raw forces of nature attributed to Netzach; the 
Elohim (Gods of Netzach) are synonymous with nature itself. Moreover, this 
Natural Intelligence is related to the energies symbolized in another card, 
STRENGTH. The number of THE STAR, 17, reduces to the number of 
STRENGTH, 8. That card represents the conscious control of Kundalini energy, 
variously described as solar and as sexual. We recall that the serpent Kundalini 
(the same which tempts Eve on the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil) is said 
to be “coiled in Yesod,” although when it is shown on the Tree of Life it touches 
each and every Path. As we encounter the Kundalini force, the sexual energies 
in ourselves, we approach the Greater Mysteries of Tiphareth, the Solar Logos 
which is the central star of our existence. The process of approach is a kind of 
yoga, involving the ennervation of centers of energy. It is this energy which we 
use in the meditation process; it is both the means and the goal of enlighten- 
ment, for, as the text states of Tzaddi: “Through it is consummated and 
perfected the Nature of every existing thing beneath the Sun.” THE STAR is the 
means of perfection; it is the method. 

As Case states of this method: “Meditation is really a function of the 
EGO, which raises to the conscious level the powers of the automatic 
consciousness of Yesod. . .however much it may seem to us at first that 
meditation is a personal activity, when we really succeed in meditation we 
discover that what happens is not that we meditate, but rather that we are 
meditated.” 120 The idea is that the Higher Self (what Case is calling the Ego) 
brings the Personality into meditation. The “fish hook” is partially the search 
of the Personality consciousness for reality in the context of meditation, but it is 
also the angling of the Higher Self to pull the Personality up from its depths of 

164 The Qabalistic Tarot 

The figure on this card is the most pure manifestation of the Great 
Mother at the level of the Personality, and prior to its enclosure in matter. For 
this reason it is completely unveiled: it is the perfection of the physical form of 
nature, i.e., of “every existing thing under the Sun,” meaning below the level of 
Tiphareth. This is the same figure first found in THE EMPRESS, robed and 
crowned; it is the same figure as THE HIGH PRIESTESS: it is the same figure 
found in THE UNIVERSE. 

In the Golden Dawn card the woman is shown pouring the contents of 
both urns (Chokmah and Binah) onto the earth so that they “unite and form a 
river at her feet.” 121 In the Waite card the urns are pouring their substance onto 
earth and water. Crowley’s symbolism is far more complicated. He represents 
two breast-like cups, one gold and one silver: “From the golden cup she pours 
this ethereal water, which is also milk and oil and blood, upon her own head, 
indicating the eternal renewal of the categories, the inexhaustible possibilities 
of existence. The left hand, lowered, holds a silver cup, from which also she 
pours the immortal liquor of her life. . .She pours it upon the junction of land and 
water. This water is the water of the Great Sea of Binah; in the manifestation of 
Nuith on a lower plane she is the Great Mother.” 122 Crowley describes the 
repeated spirals on this card as a reference to the shape of the Universe as 
calculated by Einstein and his followers. He points out that only in the lower 
cup are there rectangular forms and says that “In this may be discovered the 
doctrine which asserts that the blindness of humanity to all the beauty and 
wonder of the Universe is due to this illusion of straightness.” 123 

The Golden Dawn representation of THE STAR carries more specific 
information about this Path than the others, although it is hidden in the 
intricacies of number. On this card the seven primary rays of the star, and the 
fourteen secondary rays add up to 21. This is the number of Eheieh, the God 
name of Kether, telling us that the relationship of this Path to the Godhead is 
far more direct than is obvious on the surface. Moreover, the Golden Dawn 
imagery carries with it an explanation of why THE STAR, transposed with 
THE EMPEROR by Crowley, belongs firmly planted on the Twenty-Eighth 
Path where tradition has placed it. 

The Key to all of this is the two trees on either side of the female figure. 
These are the Tree of Life on the right, and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and 
Evil on the left. Biblical scholars will immediately recognize the symbolic trees 
described in Genesis; Adam and Eve were forbidden the fruit of the latter tree, 
though not of the former. 

The Bird of Hermes above the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (the 
Ibis) amplifies the meaning of the Tree in this card. It is a reference to THE 
MAGICIAN, the card of Hermes-Thoth-Mercury. In Hebrew the word kokab 
means star, but more specifically it means Mercury. Thus we understand that it 
is necessary to apply the willpower of the Magician, the directing force in 
meditation, if we are to learn the lessons of this Path. 

The Zohar, speaking of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil explains 
that if a man lives uprightly, it is a Tree of Good, but if he lives unjustly, it is a 
Tree of Evil.” 124 This does not imply the acceptance of any social doctrine or 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 165 

law, or any rule of social conduct. It means simply functioning in accordance 
with the Universal Will. And here in the card, we see that the lower branches of 
this Tree are a reversal of the principles symbolized by the branches above. 
Each branch represents one of the seven Planets (six around the Sun), with 
Saturn representing all three Supemals (Figure 30). 

Figure 30. The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil 

So we understand that this Tree, related to the expulsion of Adam and 
Eve from the condition of “heavenly bliss” symbolizes the dualities of good and 
evil, pain and pleasure, harmony and disunities of the human condition. The 
bird above, while a reference to THE MAGICIAN and the will, points out that 
wisdom emerges from a right understanding and control of the daily aspects of 
our lives. The Hermetic Mysteries serve to explain all that is called good or evil 
in our lives, and to help us to transcend the limitations which are imposed by 
these qualities. It will also be seen that the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil 
is toward the side of the Pillar of Severity. Its opposite, The Tree of Life is on the 
side of the Pillar of Mercy, for it is a gift of God balancing the severely polar 
lessons of the other Tree. The very practical point implied here is that we must 
continually refer the lessons of the inner worlds, the results of meditation, to our 
daily lives, and vice versa. 

What is shown in this Key is the Garden of Eden, a state of beginnings. 
But a complicated question arises as to why that Garden should be represented 
in a card so low on the Tree of Life and, indeed, why it should form one of the 
primary Paths of the Personality. This is explained by a reference of this Path 
to a higher Path, that of The EMPEROR. 

The correct Hebrew title of this card is O'* 301 on (ha-kokabim), 
meaning the Stars, rather than the Star. Case made this point, noting that some 
early French and Italian decks use the plural Les Etoiles and Le Stelle for this 
reason. 125 And while Case did not expand the idea, admirers of Crowley will 
immediately recall the statement from his Book of the Law, causing him to 
reverse THE EMPEROR and THE STAR, that “Tzaddi is not the Star.” Indeed 

166 The Qabalistic Tarot 

it is not a single Star, nor is it THE EMPEROR. Yet there are many Qabalistic 
ways in which THE EMPEROR (Heh) and THE STAR (Tzaddi) correspond. 
One such link, again demonstrated by the Master of Gematria, Paul Case, has 
to do with the fact that the Hebrew ha-kokabim has the same numerical value 
as DTKn *|3K (ehben ha-Adam), The Stone of Adam . 126 This is a symbolic 
reference to the union of the Supernal Father, Chokmah, with the Sun, 
Tiphareth i.e., The Path of THE EMPEROR. Netzach is the Chokmah energy at 
its lowest arc, on the base of the Pillar of Mercy. Its Elohim are the lower 
expression of the YHVH Elohim of Binah, which the book of Genesis tells us 
created the Garden and the two Trees. The Path of THE STAR is, thus, the lower 
Eden, the Eden of the Personality. The Path of THE EMPEROR is, as will later 
be considered, the fiery aspect of an upper Eden, the Eden from which the 
Higher Self emerges. 

THE STAR shows Eden “restored” by Adam, a reference to Tiphareth, 
to which Adam is attributed. This lower Eden is a state to which the Personality 
can directly relate. Here, too, we recall that the creation of Man, the formation of 
the individual consciousness from the collective unconscious, begins from the 
point of Netzach. It is also the highest level of the Personality’s intuition, as 
opposed to the Path of THE SUN, which is the highest level to be reached by 

The airy sign Aquarius, associated with peace, love and inspiration, is 
given to this Path. In the ancient world, Saturn was said to govern Aquarius, 
which refers us again to Binah and, in fact, to THE UNIVERSE. Here it should 
be clear that THE STAR relates to a great many more Paths than most other 
Keys and, as such, is of special importance. Crowley stated the reason for this 
better than other commentators. He said that “here the Universe is resolved into 
its ultimate elements .” 127 

This resolution is implicit in the very figure of the central Star itself, 
which is a merging of many lights. It is a shining forth from a central exalted 
point which has been related to Lucifer. That angel is seen not as an underworld 
figure, but as the Light-Bearer, the “Morning and Evening Star,” usually 
considered the Planet Venus, the mundane Chakra of Netzach. 


The Tower 

The Sixteenth Key 

□ PATH COLOR: Scarlet 


□ PLANET: Mars 

□ MEANING: Mouth 


□ ESOTERIC TITLE: The Lord of 
the Hosts of the Mighty 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 167 

THIRTY-TWO PATHS OF WISDOM: The Twenty-seventh Path 
is the Active or Exciting Intelligence and it is so called because 
through it every existent being receives its spirit and motion. 

The Path of Peh, THE TOWER, connects the center of the reasoning 
process (Hod) with the center of the intuition-desire nature (Netzach). It is the 
equilibriating Path of the Personality, related to Mars, and to the North, the 
quarter known traditionally in the Mysteries as “the place of greatest 
darkness,” because it is said that the Sun never shone in the North of Solomon’s 
Temple. Yet we are instructed that Light comes from Darkness, that “gold 
cometh from the North,” and that “Enlightenment has its origin in the hidden 
sources of power which terrify the minds of the ignorant .” 128 

Peh is a double letter, meaning that it is one of the “Gateways of the 
Soul,” with two possible directions of passage. As a word, Peh means mouth, an 
orifice related both the taking of nourishment into the system and to speech. In 
the first case we understand that it is through the function of this devastating 
Path that the higher energies are brought in to enervate the Personality. And 
while spiritual nourishment passes into the system via this symbolic mouth, 
speech passes out of it. 

Anyone who has done some practical esoteric work is aware of the 
singular importance of words and of the sounds of which these words are 
composed. The vibration of a God Name (its utterance in such a way that it can 
actually be felt in the body) has a definite effect on the physical vehicle as well 
as a concomitant effect on the psychic vehicles. This is a fact easily tested by the 
student, although the effect on the psyche may not be completely perceived by 
the waking consciousness. 

“Words of Power,” properly vibrated with martian force, help to bring 
about the destruction of our personal Towers, false concepts and institutions 
which we believe to be reality. But it should be understood that to tear 
something down is to make room for something new. Mars may be a god of war 
and destruction, but it is also the God which rules over the fertility of crops . 129 
And, relative to speech, we know that the Logos is also called the Word. 

168 The Qabalistic Tarot 

Most versions of this key picture a Tower, set in a desolate landscape, 
being struck by lightning. Figures fall from it as the Crown is struck off. In the 
most simple of terms, this symbolizes the sudden destruction of our perception 
of what constitutes reality. The Tower is the concept of what most people call 
“I,” the Personality awareness being shattered by an influx of force revealing 
something of the nature of the Higher Self. The Tower also symbolizes all man- 
made institutions, whether that means government, religion, or any accepted 

Yet this is not to be construed as the striking down of evil. In fact one 
title of the card is The House of God. The spiritual learning process involves the 
continual building up and striking down of concepts formed only as useful 
stepping stones into the inner worlds. For example, on the Paths we first 
encounter the Archangels in anthropomorphic guise. This appears to be their 
reality, particularly if we may not have believed that Archangels exist in the 
first place. What we encounter are contact pictures which have been established 
through centuries of meditative practice. These are a useful creation of man, 
rather than being the true and pure consciousness of the Archangelic beings. To 
encounter the Archangels as formless consciousness means to destroy another 
Tower which we have created. Yet these Towers are necessary and sacred. They 
are, like the densest expression of ourselves, our bodies, temples of the Holy 
Spirit. Appreciating this, we learn to apply the underlying principles of each 
Path without being bound by their necessarily artificial outward manifestation. 
We know that any Path we follow is, by definition, artificial, whether that be 
Qabalah, Hinduism, Catholicism, Judaism or Buddhism, and that each 
carefully laid brick of these structures will ultimately be destroyed. 

One key symbol of THE TOWER is its very isolation. It stands on a 
desolate mountain top. Most individuals perceive themselves in this way, as 
totally separate units of consciousness. So the destruction of the Tower means to 
experience the True Ego, which is not ours alone. The lightning flash on the 
Tower is a sudden realization, or flash of perception, of our real identities. That 
lightning is in the shape of the circle and spear of Mars to indicate the power 
which initiates the experience. 

On the Golden Dawn and Waite cards the lightning strikes the Crown at 
the top of the Tower, an obvious reference to the Crown of Kether. But what is 
symbolized here is the false crowns of our existence, those man-made values 
which we believe to control us. And one of the meanings of the Crown here is the 
will, the Primal Will of Kether which is the only true reality. Our conscious 
attempt to align ourselves with this Primal Will brings about the destruction of 
our belief that we actually have a personal will. 

The reference to Mars on the 27th Path points to the Path’s correspon- 
dence with Geburah, the fifth Sephira. Here the activity of Geburah in tearing 
away obsolete values takes place. Of course, it must be reiterated that the 
Sephiroth are the centers of objective energy, while the Paths are our subjective 
use of those energies. In varying degree, the energies of all of the Sephiroth are 
on all of the Paths, in this case that of Geburah being predominent. We also 
recall that Netzach and Geburah, Venus and Mars, are integrally linked, and 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 169 

that the Gods associated with both Hod and Netzach are called the Gods of 

It is for good reason that Crowley sub-titled his card War. Throughout 
esoteric literature spiritual self-development is often described in martial terms. 
The Bhagavad Gita, for instance, describes a symbolic battle of the component 
parts of the Self: Krishna is the Higher Genius, guiding Arjuna onto his inner, 
and personal, field of battle. 

Far too many people make the mistake of assuming the process of 
spiritual development to be one of “sweetness and light,” a misconception 
fostered primarily by Christianity. THE TOWER points out that inner growth 
must be a painful and overwhelming process. Nature is not always kind to us. 
Once we invoke the inner forces we soon discover that what we get is what we 
need, and that is not always what we want. Most of all, it is often not what we 
expect. The branches of the Tree of Life are, as this card suggests, filled with 

The surprise and suddenness of insight is symbolized both in the Golden 
Dawn and in the Waite card by the lightning flash. Crowley’s version 
represents the same principle, but attempts to demonstrate some of the more 
subtle shades of meaning of the Path. He tells us also that his card represents 
the “preface” to the coming of a new era shown in the 20th Key, JUDGMENT. 
His version of THE TOWER represents the destruction of the old order. 

As in THE STAR, Crowley uses straight, geometric lines to mean that 
which is made by man. He points out that since perfection is Nothing (literally 
no-thing ): “all manifestations, however glorious, however delightful, are 
stains.” 130 

In his card the all-seeing Cosmic Eye observes and directs the disruptive 
process of the Tower’s destruction, while Dis, a Roman God of the dead, belches 
flames from the structure’s base. On either side are the Serpent and the Dove, 
representing “the two forms of desire. . .the Will to Live and the Will to Die. . .” 
He says that they are also the “masculine and feminine impulses.” 131 

In both the Golden Dawn and Waite cards two figures are shown falling 
from the Tower. Case explained them as the dual modes of the lower personal 
consciousness (consciousness and sub-consciousness) while Mathers called 
these the Kings of Edom. Waite presumably agreed with Mathers insofar as his 
two figures both wear crowns. 

Reference to the Kings of Edom leads us to some very subtle meanings of 
this card. The fall of the Kings of Edom refers to the conquest of that nation by 
the Jews, led by Judas Maccabeus. There is, however, a much deeper meaning 
imbedded in that fall, a meaning which is discussed at some length in the 
Zohar. That book states that prior to the creation of our universe there were 
other universes, or forms of existence, with which the Divine Creator was 
displeased, and which he thus reduced to a state of chaos or nothingness. 132 

The Tower, furthermore, has other biblical implications. It is the Tower 
of Babel, a parable wherein the relationship of Speech-Tower is clearly shown: 
After the flood the descendants are said to have settled in Babylonia (Babel) 
where they built a city of brick. They built a tower in a supposed attempt 

170 The Qabalistic Tarot 

to reach up to, and conquer, the heavens. Seeing these men as coarse and 
ambitious, God sought to punish them. Where previously “the whole earth was 
of one language and of one speech,” and men could work in unison, God 
imposed diverse languages, forcing a dispersion across the land. In symbolic 
terms, the building of a tower of false notions results in confusion; it is 
acceptance of the limitations of “language,” meaning the strictures of any 
particular culture. In this sense, then, the Tower also represents the structure of 
individual religious systems. Those who are locked into the bricks and mortar of 
any system are unable to see beyond that system to the Divine Unity and 
purpose which is the Light of all true religions. 

The extent to which the implications of this card go far above even the 
level of the Christ center of Tiphareth is shown by the three windows in both the 
Golden Dawn and the Waite cards. The number three is a reference to the 
Supernal Triangle, meaning that the activity of THE TOWER somehow 
involves our cosmic selves. Crowley uses the symbol of the Cosmic Eye (the 
third eye of inner vision) but the meaning is precisely the same. Here is the 
involvement of God the Father. What happens is that the Path of THE TOWER 
may be considered the affirmation of the Primal Will that It alone is the True 
Crown, thus bringing into balance in the self the pure positive (Chokmah) and 
the pure negative (Binah) which stand at the top of each Pillar in our individual, 
internal Trees of Life. 

In fact, the whole Tree of Life is involved in this Path. Waite suggests 
this by placing the Tower between two sets of falling Yods (the descending 
Spirit), adding up to twenty-two, the number of the Hebrew letters and of the 
Paths. Here it will be recalled that the Lightning Flash is the very means of 
creation of all ten Sephiroth. 

In the Golden Dawn card an even more profound suggestion is made 
concerning our human value systems. On the right hand is seen the Tree of Life, 
while on the left is another Tree which is the Qlippbth. As the Tower is struck 
down, the opposites of “good” and “evil” are suddenly viewed differently, and 
one knows that all that is in the Universe is a part of the One Creator. And 
again, as has been repeatedly stated: every created thing contains the seeds of 
its opposite. 

To this point we have considered the psychological implications of the 
Path, ideas which may easily be derived from meditation on the card. But THE 
TOWER involves some symbolism rarely found in print. This symbolism is 
purely sexual. 

In the past the meaning of certain symbols was only broadly suggested 
because many in polite society might find them shocking. One such symbol is 
the Tower itself, which is a phallus. Moreover the mouth (Peh) may be 
interpreted at one level to mean the opening of the male reproductive organ, that 
from which the Yod, seed of life, issues. Crowley’s card more than hints at this 
by the form of the mouth breathing fire on the lower right. And in his diary of 
1923 he is very explicit as he speaks of “the Blasted Tower which is really a 
Phallus shooting forth lightnings of seed.” 133 The Fire is the destroyer and the 
renewer, for it forces the transmutation of energy from one form to another. It is, 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 171 

thus, the initial activator which will ultimately lead to fruition. This becomes 
clear as one asks the question: What happens to the Tower, here seen in the 
process of being consumed? The answer is that what happens is exactly the 
same as in our physical world when something burns. Energy is released to be 
restructured and to manifest in another way. 

Thus is an extremely important lesson about the nature of transmuta- 
tion of energies in the Universe imbedded in this card. The transmutation is so 
all-pervasive that it is found at every level of the Tree of Life. Knowing that the 
Mars energy is the universal sexual force of Microprosopus, and that the image 
of the Tower is in some (though not all) ways the phallus, points to one 
important meaning of the card. It is the higher sexual energy destroying the 
perception of the Personality about the nature of the sexual function; it is 
destruction of the perception of the sex organ itself in orgasm. And, as earlier 
noted, one of the precepts of the Mysteries accurately states that “God is sex.” 
Needless to say, this precept was not much bantered about in the Victorian era. 

There is still another complex mystery to be encountered here. This is 
the mystery of circumcision, an idea implied by the striking of the “Crown” 
from the top of the Tower. This is unquestionably one of the most secret 
meanings of the card, and one which is supported by Gematria. The letter Peh 
has a value of 85, which we discover to be the same value as the Hebrew word for 
circumcision. It might also be added that when they conquered the Edomites, 
the Jews forced them to be circumcised, which allowed the Edomites to be 
absorbed into the Jewish society. 

The rite of circumcision is of very obscure origin, but it is a practice 
known to have been spread by the Egyptians. 134 Biblical texts show that a 
number of ideas were involved: 1) It was related to preparation for marriage. In 
the case of the Mysteries, this may be taken to mean what is called by 
Alchemists the “Chemical Wedding.” 2) It was a rite of initiation into a social 
group. 3) It was a “redemption offering,” as is described in Leviticus. 135 4) Most 
important, it was a token of the covenant between Abraham and God. In 
ancient terms this meant an agreement between two parties, not as a contract in 
the modern sense of the word, but as a bi-lateral pledge of loyalty. 136 

Thus it may be interpreted that the fall from the Tower, the sacrifice of 
one’s perception of the sexual function (a symbolic circumcision) is required 
continually of mankind to maintain the covenant between Abraham and God, 
i.e., to maintain the given Path by which one may return to the Source of All. 
But this is also initiatory; it is a preparation for the Knowledge and Conver- 
sation of the Holy Guardian Angel of Tiphareth. 

Interestingly enough, the biblical text calls for circumcision of all male 
children on the eighth day of their lives. The correspondence with the eighth 
Sephira, Hod, connected to Netzach by the Path of THE TOWER can certainly 
be suggested. 

The Tower is the phallus. But this symbolism does not mean in any way 
that the Path is exclusive to those functioning in male incarnations. The Path of 
Peh exists prior to the point of differentiation of the sexes for incarnation, 
and is thus an amalgam of both masculine and feminine energies. On this Path 

172 The Qabalistic Tarot 

one must focus on the male component of the sexual force, as on other Paths one 
must deal with its female components. A male or female body does, however, 
make some differences in the way one approaches the lower Paths beneath 
Tiphareth. Energies are polarized differently in the experience of a Path, 
according to the sexuality of the physical vehicle. This makes no practical 
difference in individual working; only in group working are such polarities of 
neccessity considered. 

The Devil 

The Fifteenth Key 

□ PATH COLOR: Indigo 


□ SIGN: Capricorn (Cardinal 



□ ESOTERIC TITLE: The Lord of 
the Gates of Matter; the Child of 
the Forces of Time 

THIRTY-TWO PATHS OF WISDOM: The Twenty-sixth Path is 
called the Renovating Intelligence, because the Holy God renews 
by it all the changing things which are renewed by the creation 
of the world. 

The Path of Ayin, THE DEVIL, connects Tiphareth, the center of the 
Sun consciousness, with Hod, sphere of Mercury and of the intellect. The 
twenty-sixth Path is formative and, in terms of the structure of the self, is an 
intellectual bridge between the Personality and the Individuality. 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 173 

Of all the Paths, this may be the most difficult for those rooted in 
western cultures to understand, for its interpretation flies in the face of the 
meaning which most people have come to attach to the Devil. In Qabalistic 
terms, the Devil is not viewed as an evil entity having its own separate 
existence. Rather, it represents a special mystery which must be penetrated 
before one can directly know the Higher Principle of the Self. The Devil, which 
is the adversary, is the Master of manifest form which we must face and 

Paul Foster Case, in his study course, went farther than any other writer 
in pointing to the profound implications of this card. He said: “Of all the keys of 
the Tarot, Key 15 is one of the most important. It is the symbolic veil for the 
greatest practical secret of occultism. It both conceals and reveals the secret of 
the powers ascribed by tradition to Moses, David and Solomon. This is the same 
great secret Pythagoras learned in Egyptian temple schools. It is the great 
Arcanum of alchemy and magic. To know it is to be able to make the 
Philosopher’s Stone and the Elixir of Life. Yet those who know it cannot tell. For 
the essential point is beyond the power of words to express.” 137 Here we 
understand that we are dealing with a Path on the Tree of Life which is a 
transition between the intellect of normal waking consciousness and true 
spiritual consciousness. 

There are three Paths leading directly into Tiphareth: THE DEVIL, 
TEMPERANCE and DEATH. Each of these Paths represents a special trial. 
But it must be reiterated that the student is not required to travel all three Paths. 
Those who choose the devotional Path of the Middle Pillar need deal only with 
TEMPERANCE, leading from Yesod to Tiphareth. Yet the choice of following 
each and every Path means the acquisition of control over the energies which 
each Path symbolizes; every Path confers a unique power. On the other hand, to 
travel the Middle Pillar means to understand and balance, within the Self, the 
energies of all twenty-two Paths. The difference here is that one can understand 
these (conceptual) aspects of consciousness, without necessarily developing the 
ability to manipulate these same energies. It might be said that what 
differentiates the student magician from the Catholic monk is a greater level of 
curiosity. Some, of course, come to occult studies through a desire for raw power, 
but quickly learn that if such power is acquired and misused there is a 
devastating price to pay. There is no question that the devotional-meditational 
Path is a much safer one than the magical Path. 

That which is symbolized by THE DEVIL is, in fact, raw power. It is the 
force which brings about the transmutation of THE TOWER, a fact underscored 
by the relationship of this card to Mars: THE DEVIL is the sign Capricorn in 
which Mars is exalted. This is a weighty, even blind, sign of Earth, one which 
symbolizes both the highest and the lowest. Yet it is considered a sign of 
initiation, or release from the limitations of matter. It is limitation that is 
suggested by the rulership of Capricorn by Saturn, the planet of Binah, the 
Great Mother. Capricorn governs the limitations of form, whether that means 
the enclosure of matter or of time, the artificial system by which we meter and 
enclose all activities. 

174 The Qabalistic Tarot 

The Devil represents the average person’s misperception of reality, the 
belief that our material condition is “real” in the true sense of the word. This 
misperception is symbolized here in two ways: First, the Devil is intended to be 
seen as a humorous figure, the bogey-man of our collective childhood. Our belief 
in the illusion of matter created by the energies symbolized in this card is 
actually laughable, and it is here more than implied that laughter and good 
humor about our lives is a tool which will help us to transcend the illusion. We 
must learn not to take our perceptions of the material world seriously. Mirth is 
the first great corrective. 

Second, our misperception of the real nature of things is suggested by 
the inverted Pentagram on the Devil’s head. The sacred symbol of mankind, 
turned upside down, means that most people’s vision of the world and its 
relationship to a spiritual reality is itself upside down. And the meaning of the 
letter Ayin, eye, means that the lesson of this Path is a reorganization of 
perspective, a new vision of things. Eye symbolizes both our acceptance of what 
we see in the sensory world as real, and the greater vision which comes through 
the use of the inner eye. To accept what our physical eye tells us is to be subject 
to illusion and bondage, a state symbolized in the Golden Dawn and Waite 
cards by the chained figures. The figures are homed to show that they are, 
however unwittingly, the servants of this comical creature. 

One primary statement of this Path is that the Devil does not exist as he 
is postulated by the ignorant. As is written in the Emerald Tablet: “all things 
were from One, by the meditation of One,” meaning that there is nothing in the 
universe not of God, including the so-called Devil. The card contains one of the 
greatest mysteries of the Qabalah, which is that the Devil is the necessary 
means of reaching the Christ-Buddha consciousness of Tiphareth. Described 
variously as the “source of the forms and appearance of relative existence,” and 
as the “Lord of the Gates of Matter and Child of the Forces of Time,” the Devil is 
both the Tempter and the Redeemer. He is also described as the “Prince of the 
Powers of Air,” indicating that this energy is mediating in the flow of Astral 
currents. Air is to be understood here as the whole of Yetzirah, the Astral Plane 
which controls the ebb and flow of matter. 

This Path confers the ability to bring right-side-up the Devil’s Penta- 
gram and to lift his torch upward. In practical terms, this means the ability to 
reverse the currents of Astral Light. Intellect and disciplined meditation are the 
means by which this may be accomplished, and by which the Philosophers 
Stone and Elixir of Life may be produced. The process begins with the intellect 
of Hod, and leads into the intuition of Tiphareth. This is the meaning of the text 
of the Thirty-Two Paths of Wisdom, which describes Ayin as the Renewing 
Intelligence. We understand that it is only through the forces of the Devil, and 
our right understanding of them, that we may come directly to the Light of God 
the Son. The scriptures state that even Christ, Himself, passed through the 
temptation of the Devil. In this the way is pointed out for us more clearly than 
fundamentalist Christians could ever begin to suspect. 

Eliphas L6vi called this Path “The first physical manifestation of the 
Divine Breath.” And here we recall that “Saturn eats its children,” meaning 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 175 

that while the creation of the illusion of form is essential to manifestation on the 
earthly plane (and is what manifestation actually means) the “dissolution of 
these forms is essential to the Path of Return.” For the Alchemists, dissolution 
means analysis, which is precisely what we apply when we intellectually 
separate the component energies of ourselves and our universe into twenty-two 
Paths on the Tree of Life. First we must conceptually (as well as practically) 
separate out these component parts, then we must reintegrate them through our 
understanding of their operation. To extend an analogy made earlier: it is only 
by focusing on each part of our body system, considering each organ separately 
that we come to an understanding of how the organs work together to maintain 
our physical being. The reintegration, in this sense, is our overall view of the 
interaction of the organs. Having come to this overall view, we can then begin to 
actively apply the new knowledge. This is a positive phase of using what we 
know. It is the step which follows the dissolution and re-integration. But as we 
function within an earthly incarnation, everything must be related back to our 
mundane condition. Each lesson must be grounded. 

This is the psychological meaning of a process which has been described 
in symbolic terms over the centuries. Our psychology has given us words for 
relationships of energies which the ancients could only symbolize. Words such 
as “sub-conscious” and “unconscious” have become such an integral part of our 
vocabulary that they are taken for granted. We are thus, more prepared than 
any other age to deal with the concepts of the Mysteries, including what has 
been variously termed the Akashic Fluid, the Odic Force or the Astral Light. 
This force is manipulated, for whatever end one may choose, through an 
understanding of THE DEVIL. Here L&vi (who used the term “Great Magical 
Agent”) describes the process of manipulation as, to dissolve, to consolidate, to 
quicken, to moderate . 138 This is dissolution, re-integration, activity and 
grounding. The same qualities can be described as Fire, Water, Air and Earth. 

The requisite interaction of the Four “Elements” is also suggested in the 
Golden Dawn and Waite cards: The inverted Torch is Fire, the Eagle’s claws are 
Water, the wings are Air, and the grotesque body of the Devil is earth. One 
interesting, though even less obvious symbolism is in the Devil’s being 
represented with the ears of an ass, a mythological reference pointing toward a 
sexual interpretation of the card. Priapus was the Roman God of the phallus, to 
whom the ass was traditionally sacrificed . 139 (Readers will note that it is 
virtually impossible to make this statement without seeming to intend a bad 

The symbolism of the Golden Dawn and Waite cards is essentially the 
same, with one exception. In the Golden Dawn card the Devil holds a single 
horn in his right hand. This is intended to be the horn of a Ram, the beast or 
Aries, the Path of THE EMPEROR ruled by Mars. In this, Mathers pointed to 
the most profound meaning of the card, for this is also the Jewish Shofah, the 
ram’s horn which sounds the call to prayer at Yom Kippur. Thus does the Devil 
hold up the very means of release from bondage. In him is both that which 
enslaves and that which confers freedom. Moreover, we are led to understand 
that what is symbolized by the Path of THE EMPEROR is the pure energy 

176 The Qabalistic Tarot 

(recalling Aries to be the first Sign of the Zodiac, and initiator of Spring) which 
causes the fall of THE TOWER, and the testing of JUDGMENT. All bear a 
relationship to Binah, which is a fiery red in Atziluth. 

Crowley’s card is far more complex than the others and is, again, 
explicitly sexual. He describes the Key as representing “creative energy in its 
most material form,” and as “Pan Pangenetor, the All-Begetter.” His goat is 
Pan standing on the highest mountain-top on earth, against “a background of 
the exquisitely tenuous, complex, and fantastic forms of madness .” 140 Between 
the legs of the goat is the wand of the Chief Adept. It takes little observation to 
realize that what Crowley has represented in his card is a penis with two 
testicles, appropriate in that he considered this card to mean the most male of 
all male energies. He makes a further statement by having the tip of the male 
organ outside the card, symbolically in the greater heavens, while the testicles 
contain the bound-up forms of physical manifestation. 

Undoubtedly there are many who will be made uncomfortable by the 
recurrence of pointedly sexual symbolism in the cards. This symbolism has 
been understood by initiates of the Mysteries for centuries, but it is only recently 
that our society has reached a stage of maturity where such ideas may be 
discussed openly and in proper perspective. Certainly, any adult will agree that 
orgasm is the most powerful natural force to affect the human body, yet it is 
merely an indicator of a power of God so overwhelming that our minds cannot 
begin to conceive of it . 141 


The Fourteenth Key 



□ SIGN: Sagittarius (Mutable 


□ MEANING: Prop 


ter of the Reconcilers, the Bring- 
er Forth of Life 

THIRTY-TWO PATHS OF WISDOM: The Twenty-fifth Path is 
the Intelligence of Probation, or is Tentative, and is so called 
because it is the primary temptation, by which the Creator trieth 
all righteous persons. 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 177 

The Path of Samekh, TEMPERANCE, leads from Yesod to Tiphareth, 
from the Moon to the Sim, from the Personality to the Higher Self. It is among 
the most important and difficult Paths of the entire Tree, and one on which the 
very enormity of the Great Work may be experienced. It has been called a Path 
which is the “Dark Night of the Soul,” 142 a Path on which one enters a deep 
tunnel in the belief that the Light is to be found at the end of it. This is a Path of 
trial and temptation, called the Intelligence of Probation. It is also known as the 
“Daughter of the Reconcilers, the Bringer Forth of Life.” In his 777 Crowley 
made this comment on the letter Samekh: It is “The Womb preserving Life. Self- 
control and Self-Sacrifice govern the Wheel.” 143 All of these phrases direct us to 
the idea that behind this card, ultimately, is the Great Mother, the Q> ni rv> 
(YHVH Elohim) of Binah. For this reason the central figure of both the Golden 
Dawn and Crowley cards are female. Moreover the Twenty-Fifth Path is 
that of Sagittarius, the Archer who is also Diana the Huntress, Goddess of the 
Moon. This repeats the principle that all of the figures of the Tarot (except THE 
FOOL) are Mother-Binah and Father-Chokmah under different guises. 

In her function as Diana she governs the tides of earth, and the 
fluctuations of the Astral Current. She is the natural framework and support for 
the waxing and waning of the energies of existence. She is the Prop, the very 
meaning of the word Samekh. The Great Mother is, thus, the “Womb preserving 
Life.” She is restriction and control over natural energies; all of the energies of 
the manifest universe are controlled and manipulated within specific bounds 
and restrictions. 

In their Voice of Isis, Hariette and Homer Curtis describe the Universal 
Mother as the “power of bringing forth in humanity the Divine Child or the 
Christ.” 144 It is that which in every individual brings about the contact of the 
Personality with the inner divine light. This is, in Qabalistic terms, the 
Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. Rising on the Path 
of TEMPERANCE leads to our bearing of the Child, which is ourselves reborn. 

Key 14 is the beginning of an awareness of the Higher Self of Tiphareth. 
The card demonstrates not the experience itself, but how the experience is 
brought about, i.e., through an exchange and balance of opposites which can 

178 The Qabalistic Tarot 

only be symbolically described. The use of symbols here has nothing whatso- 
ever to do with secrecy, but is merely reflective of the inadequacy of language to 
describe the process. 

Crowley’s card is the most specific, showing the process in alchemical 
terms, where Fire becomes Water and Water becomes Fire. And, as we 
appreciate that the primary alchemy takes place within the body of the 
alchemist himself, we can also appreciate that this card is describing an actual 
physical effect. It is not nearly so symbolic as some might believe. 

The willful interchange of Fire and Water is the merging or tempering of 
energy opposites within the body, here symbolized by a stream poured back and 
forth from one vase to another. This is the Living Water, consciousness vivified 
by being merged with the Fiery Spirit. The process is one of bringing the 
Spirit into the body so that it tempers the consciousness, and is itself tempered 
by the consciousness, thus forming something new, something which is “more 
than the sum of its parts.” This is the personal application of the Yod (Fire) and 
Heh (Water) uniting in the individual to produce Vau (Air) within the body 
which is Heh-final and Earth. 

The process involves an inner manipulation of sexual energies. Indeed, 
the symbolism of the arrow released upward is one of spiritual orgasm. Such 
an interpretation may appear extreme, but is actually well-accepted in 
Christian iconography. The ecstasy of Theresa, the sixteenth century mystic 
and Saint, is described as an angel thrusting a flaming arrow into her heart. 
This symbolism of the piercing arrow which brings ecstasy and enlightenment 
appears to be a universally applicable (indeed archetypal) description of a real 

What happens is the establishment of a rhythmic masturbatory motion 
of inner energy. The mental control of this energy, its conscious manipulation, is 
symbolized by the interchange of Fire and Water, or by the interchange of fluid 
between vases. The key to this actually simple process is the infinity symbol, the 
figure eight which Waite uses above the figure of his MAGICIAN. It is an ebb 
and flow which is confined, i.e., is used within very specific perimeters (thus the 
womb symbolism) but which is taken in either direction at will. As one changes 
the rate of vibration of this inner energy, one raises or lowers the level of 
consciousness, i.e., moves from Chakra to Chakra or from Path to Path. 

To explain all of this in a more simple way: At the lowest level, Water 
(which we have previously described as consciousness) being acted upon by Fire 
(the sexual, Kundalini energy) produces the images of the astral, the pictures 
which form in our minds. These are the Air (Vau) quality, as our minds are the 
grounding Earth. The principle is one of producing a consciously-controlled 
vision, one which is limited by the will. The important point to understand is 
that most of the word symbols of Alchemy, Hermeticism, Qabalah, etc., describe 
processes to which anyone can relate. They are neither remote nor complicated, 
especially at the level of Assiah. And, in some respects, this whole symbolic 
language has been totally superseded by the language of psychology as 
established by Carl Jung and others. 

It should be added that the Metals described in Alchemical literature are 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 179 

the same as the Seven Chakras of the Hindus, the Seven Planets and the 
Sephiroth of Microprosopus. These words have been used as codes over the 
centuries, meaning seven distinct levels of objective consciousness. Thus, when 
one speaks of a Planet ruling a sign of the Zodiac, what is meant is the 
relationship of a Sign to a given center of energy both in the Greater Universe 
and in the Human body. 

Sagittarius is the sign of the Zodiac related to TEMPERANCE. Its 
Planetary ruler is Jupiter, meaning Chesed, but also to some extent the WHEEL 
OF FORTUNE, tenth key of the Tarot. 

Chesed is suggested by the blue colored robe worn by the Golden Dawn 
angel, the color of the Twenty-Fifth Path in Atziluth. On the figure’s breast is a 
golden square, a further reference to Chesed, to the number four and to matter. 
In the Waite card the square is covered by a triangle, meaning that all of the 
manifest Universe is governed by the Supernals. Here we recall that Chesed is 
the architect of all manifestation, working with the pure “potential to form” of 

To reiterate the important meanings of TEMPERANCE: 1) It refers to 
an actual physical process, one which has been the secret of mystics for 
centuries. 2) This process involves an interchange of opposite energies directed 
by the will. 3) The process is set in motion at the level of the Higher Self. It is 
instituted in Chesed, the most refined level of Microprosopus to which the 
Higher Self is central, and the Sephira where the will to form of the Great 
Mother is enacted. 4) Until this process is accomplished, the Higher Self cannot 
be known to the Personality. 

The whole experience is one of preparation of the Personality, and the 
body in which it is operating, to deal with an influx of Light which would be 
devastating to a system unready to handle such energy. Most important here is 
the monitoring of progress, the continual testing from above. It is the angel here 
which is at once the Higher Self and the initiatory forces of Nature, which pours 
the elixir from vase to vase. This is an ongoing process of testing, measuring to 
see how much the physical vehicle can bear. When it can handle the stress of the 
energy interchange here symbolized, the arrow is released. On the other hand, 
the Angel makes certain that no individual is allowed more than it can handle. 
The result of taking on too much at once is an admonishing jolt, from this angel, 
not soon to be forgotten. The angels, described as sentinals at each inner gate, 
are there for our own protection. 

Some special insights may be derived by considering the description of 
the letter Samekh in the Sepher Yetzirah, although the terms in this document 
lend themselves to an extraordinary range of interpretation. The word anger 
( tin ) is referred to Samekh. However, Case states that this is a “blind,” and 
that the original meaning of the Hebrew word was quivering or vibration. 145 
Such an interpretation is entirely consistent with the alchemical symbolism, for 
the interchange of Fire and Water is a control of inner vibrations. But there are 
two other meanings of “anger” which might be appropriate to this Path. First is 
the idea of anger in the sense of Divine rage, a passion so overwhelming that its 
force draws the bow and releases the arrow of Sagittarius on the upward Middle 

180 The Qabalistic Tarot 

Pillar. Second, is an aspect of the Mysteries only rarely discussed, and certainly 
germane to the Twenty-Fifth Path: this is the very real hostility often felt by the 
student toward the Path itself, as he works day after day and seems to be 
getting nowhere. Such hostility and frustration is in itself a major test; it is part 
and parcel of the work prior to the emergence of inner proofs. The anger, if it 
may be called that, is dispelled along this Path, as the Spirit begins to fill the 
vessel in which the elements have been purified to receive it. 

The relationship of this Path to three others provides one of the best 
interlocks of Qabalistic symbolism, for the combined letters of the three lowest 
Paths, P , v , and n , spell the Hebrew word for bow. The same word also means 
rainbow, a recurring symbol in the Tarot. These three Paths are the forces 
which, when combined, send the arrow skyward toward Tiphareth. These are 
the three minor tests prior to the major testing of TEMPERANCE. To even 
approach the twenty-fifth Path one must have begun to temper the “Water” of 
The MOON (P) with the “Fire” of JUDGMENT (a) and ground the inter- 
change on the Path of THE UNIVERSE ( n ). This work is suggested in THE 
UNIVERSE by the bi-polar rods carried by the central figure. 

The Golden Dawn and Waite cards are very similar in their symbolism, 
both following tradition very closely. The Golden Dawn vases are red and blue 
to symbolize an interchange between opposite energies (Chokmah and Binah in 
their Atziluth colors). The vases on the Waite card are gold to show that all of 
this is an operation of the Sun. That planet is also represented by the sign on the 
angel’s forehead, and by the sphere above the Golden Dawn angel’s head. In 
both cases, also, the angel has one foot on solid water and the other on land 
meaning solid matter and fluid consciousness. The Water is somewhat 
representative of Yesod, the lower source of this Path, the Foundation which is 
the source of the dualities of our sensory condition and which controls their ebb 
and flow. These are the opposites which we seek to manipulate through the 
conscious use of the Solar Fire shown in the background as a flaming volcano. 

Crowley’s symbolism is at once more complicated and more explicit, 
although the meaning of the card which he calls Art is precisely the same as the 
others. And, of those cards in which Crowley deviated radically from traditional 
design this is one of the most successful. It graphically demonstrates complex 
and subtle principles only vaguely suggested by the Waite and Golden Dawn 

Crowley points out in his Book of Thoth that this card is the complement 
and fulfillment of Key six, Gemini, THE LOVERS. It is “the Consummation of 
the Royal Marriage which took place in Atu VI. . . It is the same formula, but in 
a more advanced stage. The original duality has been completely compensated; 
but after birth comes growth; after growth puberty; and after puberty, 
purification .” 146 There is a perfect interchange. The alchemical Red Lion has 
become white, and the White Lion has become red. Water is poured on Fire, Fire 
is merged with Water, all within a golden cauldron which is understood to be the 
purified physical vehicle. 

It will be seen that a tiny arrow rises toward the breasts of the figure, 
which are arranged in the form of the six planets of Microprosopus around the 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 181 

Sun. Moreover, the method of successfully treading this Path is cryptically 
given in the Latin inscription around the figure: Visita Interiora Terrae 
Rectificando Invenies Occultum Lapidem which means, “Visit the interior parts 
of the earth; by rectification thou shalt find the hidden stone.” The stone, 
sometimes referred to as the Philosopher’s Stone is the ultimate goal of 

Obviously, it would be impossible to expand here on the system of 
alchemy and the Great Work, to which Crowley refers. It must, however, be 
added that Crowley’s use of alchemical symbolism has some private meanings 
specific to his system. As in THE TOWER, he mentions that there is a special 
secret here, known to LX° initiates of his O.T.O., and one which readers will not 
be surprised to discover is again blatantly sexual. 

In his book Sexuality, Magic and Perversion Francis King explains a 
“code” in which the sexual techniques of the O.T.O. were described: “This code 
was drawn from the traditional technical terminology of alchemy. The penis 
was referred to as the athanor, the semen as the serpent or occasionally the 
blood of the red lion, while the vagina was called the curcurbite or the retort. The 
secretions that lubricate the vagina were called the menstruum of the Gluten, 
sometimes abbreviated to the menstruum, and the mixture of semen with 
vaginal lubricant was termed the First Matter, or when supposedly transmuted 
by the magical powers of the participants in the rite, the Amrita or Elixir. 

“The initiates of the IX° claimed that success in almost any magical 
operation, from the invocation of a god to ‘procuring a great treasure’ could be 
achieved by the application of the appropriate sexual technique .” 147 


The Thirteenth Key 

□ PATH COLOR: Green-blue 


□ SIGN: Scorpio (Fixed Water) 

□ MEANING: Fish 

□ SIMPLE LETTER: Movement 

of the Great Transformers; the 
Lord of the Gate of Death 

THIRTY-TWO PATHS OF WISDOM: The Twenty-fourth Path is 
the Imaginative Intelligence, and it is so called because it gives a 
likeness to all the similitudes which are created in like manner 
similar to its harmonious elegancies. 

182 The Qabalistic Tarot 

The Path of Nun, DEATH, is one of the three Paths leading from the 
Personality to the Higher Self. As a preface to its study one may usefully 
consider comments by Case and Crowley. Says Case: “Key 13 tells the Secret of 
Secrets. . .he who knows the secret has in his hands a power which might be 
used to overturn the world. Yet no person learns it until he is truly prepared, and 
more than anything else, this means such ethical preparation that no 
temptation to misuse this power could ever be sufficient to turn the knower from 
the path of strictly constructive and beneficent application of the force he is able 
to control.” 148 One may also recall Case’s statement about THE DEVIL that “It 
is the symbolic veil for the greatest practical secret of occultism.” As we shall 
see, the similarity of description for these two cards is no coincidence. 

Crowley comments on the far-reaching implications of this particular 
card. In discussing the fish, meaning of Nun, he says: “This symbol resumes the 
whole Secret Doctrine.” 149 

The great importance of this Path is pointed out by its very position on 
the Tree of Life. It is on the Path of the Flaming Sword between Tiphareth and 
Netzach, meaning that it is the Path of emanation of the Lower Creator-Energy 
into matter; it is the Path on which the energy of God the Son is transformed 
into the first sphere, or pattern of energy underlying the material world. In 
terms of the individual man, this is the Path on which the Higher Self directs 
the Personality “downward” into incarnation. Considered on an upward course 
of personal evolution, it is the Path on which the Personality energy, projected 
by the Higher Self, is absorbed in physical death or reconceptualized in 
initiation. The Great Work involves much which could be called psychological 
re-orientation; there is a perceptual change about the nature of reality and about 
what constitutes the Self. This is one aspect of the “transformation” on this 

The transformation involves leaving the desire nature of Netzach and 
being absorbed into Tiphareth. This desire nature is the very essence of the 
Personality which functions entirely in terms of the satisfaction of its needs and 
wishes. The very will to live, meaning the desire of the Personality to continue to 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 183 

function in the sensory condition, is abrogated on the Path of DEATH. Here the 
temporary and illusory nature of the Personality is correctly self-perceived. The 
Personality undergoes a willful “death,” surrendering everything that it 
believes itself to be. Most difficult is that this total surrender of life, this 
initiatory sacrifice, must precede the experience of cosmic awareness. One is 
required to give up the totality of one’s being, one’s very life, in relative 
darkness, yet in the faith that there will be a resurrection into the Light. As 
Jung puts it: “By descending into the unconscious, the conscious mind puts 
itself in a perilous condition, for it is apparently extinguishing itself .” 150 It is, as 
Gareth Knight described, a “Dark Night of the Soul,” much as on the Path of 
TEMPERANCE, another of the three Paths leading from the Personality to the 
Higher Self. One may proceed to the experience of the Higher Self on any of 
these Paths, but the lessons of all three Paths must be mastered. THE DEVIL, 
TEMPERANCE and DEATH are different perspectives and aspects of the same 
thing, TEMPERANCE being the Path of meditation between Ayin and Nun. 
This might more easily be understood by considering the idea that the figure of 
THE DEVIL, the Angel of TEMPERANCE and the skeleton of DEATH are all 
aspects of the Higher Self. 

Encountering such a tightly defined trinity of Tarot Keys, one may 
wonder how the universally applicable principle of the mn» may relate. In 
this case DEATH is Yod-Fire, THE DEVIL is Heh-Water and TEMPERANCE 
is Vau-Air, the result of the interaction of the other two. The Sepher Yetzirah, of 
course, speaks of only the Yod, Heh and Vau. As applied to these three cards, the 
Yod Heh and Vau are forces interacting in our own physical vehicle, the Heh 

It will be seen that while the Tree of Life has a Path called DEATH, 
there is no opposite Path of Birth. This can be explained in two ways. The first is 
that THE DEVIL, which enchains in matter, is in some ways the card of birth! 
But, more important is the fact that both birth and death are essentially the 
same transition. As one is bom into this world, he dies to an inner world; as one 
dies to this world, he is bom back into the same inner world of origin. So this 
card represents the symbolic passing through a gateway which is at once the 
utter destruction of one phase of energy, and the transformation of that energy 
into something else. But the transformation is directed from above. Thus is the 
Tarot Key called The Child of the Great Transformers. It is also the Lord of the 
Gates of Death. Nun is not the Great Transformers themselves, he is their Child. 
Nun is not Death, rather he is the keeper of its Gates. Herein lies an important 
principle for the real understanding of this card. 

Another symbolism which may be very helpful is an alchemical one. To 
this Path is attributed putrifaction, the decaying black mass in the crucible 
which eventually turns into gold. It is the emergence of new life from death. Of 
the four cards shown, only Crowley’s suggests this idea. The Crowley, Golden 
Dawn and Marseilles versions all show the skeleton of Death wielding a scythe, 
a tool of the harvest which is also a symbol of time, and thus of Satum-Binah, 
giver and destroyer of Life. Only in Crowley’s card does the destructive sweep of 
the scythe also produce bubbles in which new forms of life are seen to be 

184 The Qabalistic Tarot 

developing. This is the resurrection which follows the transformation of Death. 
In fact, both Crowley and Mathers attribute the skeleton to Osiris, a God slain 
and resurrected. 

Of course, in all cases, the skeleton represents that which remains after 
the maggots of earth have consumed the flesh. The skeleton is the framework of 
the organ system, and is thus central to growth and fruition. Interestingly 
enough, as the word Nun is a verb it means to sprout or to grow. In this we can 
view the skeleton as a symbolic and perpetual seed. The plant dies in the winter, 
but not before producing seeds which will regenerate its image in the spring. 
The image which carries over is a kind of spiritual skeleton, a pattern 
unaffected by the transformation of the plant: The plant becomes the seed, 
which again becomes the plant. This is what is meant by the words of the 
Thirty-Two Paths of Wisdom: “. . .it gives a likeness to all the similitudes which 
are created in like manner similar to its harmonious elegancies.” Meditation on 
this idea will reveal the ultimate message of the DEATH card, which is rather a 
distillation of the entire Great Work or, as Crowley said of the fish symbol, 
“resumes the whole Secret Doctrine.” 

Nun means fish; Tzaddi means fish-hook. And while the Sepher 
Yetzirah relates imagination to Tzaddi, the later Thirty-Two Paths of Wisdom 
calls Nun the Imaginative Intelligence. To make this symbolism less mysteri- 
ous, the documents imply that on the Path of Tzaddi we begin to develop the 
tools of Creative Imagination which are required to tread the difficult Path of 
Nun, i.e., to make the transition between Personality and Higher Self. Again, 
everything is summed up by the fish symbolism. 

The fish is a traditional symbol of what the alchemists call First Matter, 
an almost impossible subject to describe, but which is the mind-substance of 
everything that is. Gareth Knight says that the best modem definition is offered 
by Coleridge and is the “Primary Imagination .” 151 

The fish has also, since perhaps the second century A.D., been a key 
symbol of Christianity. In the earliest Church the Eucharist was not specifically 
represented, but was implied in a number of innocuous meal scenes. The most 
common of such scenes was the Agape or Friend’s Meal. Iconographers describe 
such scenes as a f radio panes, meaning that bread is broken symbolically. In 
the earliest Agape scenes, several figures are shown around a table with a fish 
at the center. This fish, always shown alive, and often in dual form, represents 
Christ who offers himself as the symbolic meal. 

Christ came to be associated with the fish, primarily through the 
imagery of the Miracle of Loaves and Fishes, another convenient way for the 
early Christians to secretly represent the Eucharist. It is also related to a title of 
Christ: Jesus Christ Son of God Savior. When the first Greek letters of this title 
are combined, they spell Ichthos, the Greek word for fish . 152 

The environment of fish, that from which it comes, is Water, and in 
Christian terms, this means Christ coming from Mother Mary Binah, who is 
often called Stella Maris and the Great Sea. 

The astrological sign attributed to Nun, Scorpio, is symbolized in three 
ways. It is the Scorpion, the Serpent or the Eagle. This is the transition on the 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 185 

Path of DEATH from the dangerous creature which poisons and crawls upon 
the earth, to the Serpent which weaves its way (a reference to the Astral Light) 
upward, to become the Eagle which soars above all heads. 

Crowley uses all three of these symbols. His skeleton has the Scorpion 
and Serpent at the feet and an Eagle behind the head. Most suggestive is that 
the Serpent wraps around the Fish. This is a circular, swirling activity, a 
movement which the Sepher Yetzirah describes as the attribute of Nun. In this 
context, movement means change, continual transformation which is the 
skeletal pattern of the Universe, i.e., that on which all else is predicated. 

Movement is the primary activity of the Mars force ruling Scorpio. And 
as Mars is involved, so are DEATH, THE TOWER and the fifth Sephira, 
Geburah. Moreover, THE EMPEROR is this Mars energy during the daylight, 
while DEATH is the same energy in the dark of night. This is, again, the 
darkness of unknowing, the “Dark Night of the Soul” described by Saint John 
of the Cross. What he says of this condition applies to THE DEVIL., 
TEMPERANCE and DEATH: “. . .although this happy night brings darkness 
to the spirit, it does so only to give it light in everything; and that, although it 
humbles it and makes it miserable, it does so only to exalt it and to raise it up; 
and although it impoverishes it and empties it of all natural affection and 
attachment, it does so only that it may enable it to stretch forward, divinely, 
and thus to have fruition and experience all things, both above and below. . ,” 153 
His reference to the loss of natural affection and attachment is a comment on 
the diminishing of the desire nature of the personality. There develops, in fact, a 
dreadful emptiness, almost a complete disinterest in everything, even concern- 
ing whether one lives or dies. Life’s processes cease to hold value. Yet with this 
feeling, one pushes ahead, almost mechanically, but with great faith. The Soul 
moves forward inch by inch, in an indescribable blackness (the “dark night,” 
the “putrification”) in the belief, and not always so sure, that the light will 
eventually appear to lead the way. 

All that is involved relates to the sexual energies. Scorpio rules the 
sexual organs as Mars rules Scorpio. It is the reproductive energy which is 
consciously directed in practical exercises such as that of the Middle Pillar . 154 
Crowley’s version of DEATH best indicates this activity. 

The Golden Dawn card is quite traditional, with two exceptions. First, 
the Eagle of Scorpio is at the upper right, changing from the form of the Fiery 
Serpent. Opposite this is the darkened Sun which is intended to represent the 
process of putrification, from which spiritual gold will eventually emerge. It is 
also the Christian “Darkness at Noon.” 

Waite’s departure from tradition, showing Death as a mounted skeleton 
in armor represents another aspect of the Path, which is its warrior quality. 
Here Waite has drawn on medieval representations of Death, depicting him as 
the Black Knight. Behind him is the fallen King of matter; before him a Bishop 
in fish-head Mitre, supposedly intended to indicate the passing of the Piscean 
Age. The rising Sun behind the dual Towers, first seen on the Path of THE 
MOON, is also a reference to resurrection, the conquest of death. Finally, and 
most interesting in this version, is the banner with the White Rose of ten petals. 

186 The Qabalistic Tarot 

five inner and five outer. Insofar as the Rose is based on five, it is a reference to 
the Martian force of Gebruah. But the totality of the ten petals means the 
involvement of the entire Universe under Kether, because of its white color. This 
also means THE FOOL, and Uranus, to which the white rose is related. 

The Hanged Man 

The Twelfth Key 

□ PATH COLOR: Deep Blue 


□ MEANING: Water 


of the Mighty Waters 

THIRTY-TWO PATHS OF WISDOM: The Twenty-third Path is 
called the Stable of Intelligence, and it is so called because it has 
the virtue of consistency among all numerations. 

THE HANGED MAN, the Path of Mem, connects Hod and Geburah on 
the Pillar of Severity. It is also a connecting channel between the Personality 
and the Higher Self, although its initiatory implications are very different from 
those three Paths leading directly into Tiphareth. This Path, and the symbolism 
of the card, is a complete departure from anything previously encountered. 

This is a curious imagery, and most people react to it by turning the 
figure right side up. The eighteenth century writer Court de Gebelin even 
thought the hanging figure to be a mistake, claiming that the man was 
originally a symbol of Prudence, standing on one foot while deciding where to 
put the other . 155 And though such an interpretation may seem comical today, it 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 187 

is actually only in the past few decades that the true and complex meaning of 
this Tarot Key has been publicly revealed. Arthur Edward Waite avoided the 
issue as well as any other knowing writer of his day. He said: “It is a card of 
profound significance, but all the significance is veiled. . .1 will say very simply 
on my own part that it expresses the relation, in one of its aspects, between the 
Divine and the Universe.” 156 Perhaps the best clue offered by Waite is that the 
figure is intended to represent a Fylfot Cross (Swastica), and is thus related to 
Kether in some very essential way. 

Most important is that this is the Path of Water, the letter Mem being 
one of the three Matemals. And, in some respects, this is a Path of baptism into 
Maternal Water. In fact, it could be stated that the experience of each Maternal 
Path is a baptism: Shin is the baptism of Fire (JUDGMENT), Mem is the 
baptism of Water (THE HANGED MAN) and Aleph is the baptism of Air (THE 
FOOL). The water baptism is the central, and pivotal experience of the entire 
Tree of Life. 

Water means Consciousness, the First Principle of the Alchemists, the 
non-wet substance of which everything is produced. This substance, sometimes 
called the Thinking Principle, is symbolized by water because it has some of the 
qualities of physical water, particularly in its wave movement. In its lowest 
expression it is the Astral Fluid first discovered on the Path of the UNIVERSE, 
drawn down from Yesod, the Foundation. This helps to explain the particularly 
cryptic description of Mem from the Thirty-Two Paths of Wisdom: “The Twenty- 
Third Path is called the Stable Intelligence, and it is so-called because it has the 
virtue of consistency among all numerations.” That is to say that the 
Intelligence operates in every sphere (Sephiroth and Paths, i.e., “numerations”) 
and in the same way. The Astral Fluid, the Water, underlies everything that is. 
One can describe the qualities and activities of this Water, but it is not until the 
Twenty-Third Path that one is actually absorbed into it, i.e., is “drowned” in 
these waters and perceives himself as an intrinsic and inseparable part of the 
One Consciousness. 

We are, today, living in a period when much of the complicated and 
remote symbolism of the past is being expressed in very comprehensible 
psychological terms. In discussing an experience of the Collective Unconscious, 
Carl Jung quite literally describes the experience of THE HANGED MAN. He 
speaks of: 

. . .a boundless expanse full of unprecedented uncertainty, with 
apparently no inside and no outside, no above and no below, no 
here and no there, no mine and no thine, no good and no bad. It is 
the world of water, where all life floats in suspension; where the 
realm of the sympathetic system, the soul of everything living 
begins; where I am individually this and that; where I experience 
the other in myself and the other-than-myself experiences me. . .the 
collective unconscious is anything but an incapsulated personal 
system; it is sheer objectivity, as wide as the world and open to all 
the world. There I am the object of every subject, in complete 

188 The Qabalistic Tarot 

reversal of my ordinary consciousness [author’s italics] where I am 
always the subject that has an object. 157 

Almost four hundred years earlier, in his Dark Night of the Soul, St. 
John of the Cross recorded his own experience of THE HANGED MAN, though 
in Christian terms: “With his gentle hand he wounded my neck and caused all 
my senses to be suspended [author’s italics]. . .1 remained lost in oblivion. My 
face I inclined on the Beloved. All ceased and I abandoned myself, leaving my 
cares forgotten among the lilies.” 158 This may be compared with another of 
Jung’s statements: “There I am utterly one with the world, so much a part of it 
that I forget all too easily who I really am. ‘Lost in oneself’ is a good way of 
describing this state. . .the unconscious no sooner touches us than we are it— we 
become unconscious of ourselves.” 159 

Hindu mystics describe this state as Samadhi, referring to a condition 
where the physical processes are literally suspended in trance, while the 
consciousness affects a union with the Divine. This was a state with which 
Crowley was obsessed. He wrote: “I was absolutely convinced of the supreme 
importance of devoting my life to obtaining Samadhi.” 160 In fact, when he came 
to believe that the so-called Secret Chiefs of the Order of the Golden Dawn had 
chosen him to succeed Mathers, he wrote: “I made it a condition that I should 
attain Samadhi; that is, that I should receive a degree of illumination, in default 
of which it would be presumptuous of me to put myself forward.” 161 

Crowley also makes it clear that Samadhi, which he defines with 
unusual simplicity as “Union with the Lord,” is a general term for a number of 
states, involving different degrees of trance. In his Confessions he describes a 
devastating experience of the highest form of Samadhi, on the Path of THE 
FOOL. 162 

From the standpoint of Tarot what is important is that the Path of THE 
HANGED MAN is only the first entry into a sequence of states of union. While 
this experience may be one which we spend our lives seeking, it is only one step 
along the Great Way. In this regard, Crowley again offers excellent instruction. 
Writing of Alan Bennett’s increasing desire to become a Buddhist monk, he 
says: “The phenomena of Dhyana and Samadhi had ceased to exercise their 
first fascination. It seemed to him that they were insidious obstacles to true 
spiritual progress; that their occurrence, in reality, broke up the control of the 
mind which he was trying to establish and prevented him from reaching the 
ultimate truth which he sought. He had the strength of mind to resist the appeal 
of even these intense spiritual joys. Like physical love, they persuade their dupe 
to put up with the essential evil of existence.” 163 

The idea is that we must move constantly upward on the Tree of Life. It 
is not until one has experienced the next higher Sephira that the qualities of the 
lower Sephira are completely understood, and can be directed. Here we see that 
the Path of Mem leads directly to Geburah, above Tiphareth. Geburah is the 
active part of the Higher Self. It is the fiery energy on the Pillar of Water below 
Binah. It is that on which the feet of THE HANGED MAN rest. 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 189 

The key symbol here is the Cross above the Triangle, which is also the 
emblem of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, indicating that the 
principles of THE HANGED MAN represent the essence of that Order’s 
teaching. Moreover, this card represents a summation of the teaching of the 
entire Tarot; the allegorical Book T, found in the hands of Christian 
Rosencreutz when his tomb was opened, containing the most secret teachings 
handed down through the ages. 

It is not uncommon, as in the Waite card, for the figure to be hanged 
from a Tau Cross. In fact, the symbolic relationship between Tau and Mem is 
profound. Tau is at the very center of the Cube of Space, and is crossed by the 
lines of THE FOOL (Aleph), JUDGMENT (Shin) and THE HANGED MAN 
(Mem). But Mem final, the completely closed form of this letter used when it 
occurs at the end of a word, is also attributed to this exact center point. The 
symbolism says, in essence, that the completion of Mem is Tau. Both Mem and 
Tau are suspended at the center of the Cube of Space. 

The reversed figure on the card represents the suspension of personal 
consciousness, where a greater reality imposes a complete reversal of perspec- 
tive. This has been described as the “human spirit suspended by a single 
thread.” Yet this is a willing suspension, a sacrifice which is a baptism, but 
which is also a crucifixion. This, then, is a card of the Dying God. 

One might well ask why this crucifixion should be on one side of the 
Tree. The reason is that this is an essentially intellectual experience, as is 
implied by the position of the legs of THE HANGED MAN. The cross above the 
triangle is the four above the three, the imaginative qualities of THE EMPRESS 
(3) subordinate to the rational qualities of THE EMPEROR (4). This is the 
ultimate sacrifice of desire to a rational principle. 

A balance to this experience is to be found in the WHEEL OF 
FORTUNE, directly opposite THE HANGED MAN on the Tree of Life. THE 
HANGED MAN is rest, the WHEEL OF FORTUNE is activity. Expressed in 
another way, THE HANGED MAN is what happens when the Wheel stops 
turning: the suspension or Crucifixion in Space is the willful arrest of the 
WHEEL OF FORTUNE. On the other hand, the WHEEL OF FORTUNE is the 
activation of that which is inactive on the Path of THE HANGED MAN. As is 
written on the Emerald Tablet, this is multiplicity in unity, the activity and 
passivity of the One Thing. 

It has, hopefully, been demonstrated that the Path of THE HANGED 
MAN must be approached very differently from the lower Paths. There is a 
reversal of conceptual framework which is at once a willful suspension and a 
refinement of observation. The meditator becomes the object of his own 
meditation. He becomes the “other” which had been the object of pursuit; the 
“other” becomes him. 

One of the primary qualities of this Path is that it is a Path of eternally 
unresolved possibilities. It is openness without beginning or end, the exact 
opposite of the WHEEL OF FORTUNE, which encloses in eternal motion. When 
the Mem is closed, it becomes Tau. Tau is Mem reversed. 12 (THE HANGED 

190 The Qabalistic Tarot 

MAN) is 21 (THE UNIVERSE) reversed. This is the Tarot secret of the Dying 
God on the Path of Water. 

This mythology of the Dying God is very universal; every culture seems 
to have some form of it, whether that be Christ, Osiris or a local deity. THE 
HANGED MAN is one rather peculiar aspect of this cross-cultural myth. In 
Norse mythology the God Odin sacrifically hanged himself from the branches 
of the World Tree. 164 In Greece, the Goddess Artemis was annually hanged in 
effigy, and at her sacred grove in the Arcadian Hills was known as the “Hanged 
One.” 165 Any number of such ritual hangings could be cited, none of which is a 
final death. These are merely reversals where the feet of the God are planted in 
the Anima Mundi and not on the earth. 

The death and resurrection of any God relates to this Path, and is 
described as a Kabiric Death. In the myth of the Kabiri, one brother is slain by 
the three others. His dismembered body is discovered, and is, with great joy, 
resurrected for the good of humanity. 166 The parallel with the Osiris legend is 
clear. In that story the body parts of Osiris are scattered about the land, 
collected and resurrected. 

The death of the God is a natural, continuing, event, and is symbolized 
by the ritual formula IAO, meaning Isis, Apophis, Osiris, symbolizing fruition, 
death and then resurrection. This formula also relates to that of the Yod Heh 

As usual, Crowley’s version of the card is more complicated than that of 
either Mathers or Waite. His figure, which emphasizes the Cross and Triangle, 
is suspended from the Egyptian Ankh, a form of Tau. Behind it are the 
Elemental Tablets, 167 summing up all of nature. His left foot hangs from a coiled 
serpent which is the “creator and destroyer who operates all change.” The lower 
serpent represents the effect of the work of God: “Through his Work a Child is 
begotten, as shown by the Serpent stirring in the Darkness of the Abyss below 
him.” 168 


The Eleventh Key 

□ PATH COLOR: Emerald Green 


□ SIGN: Libra (Cardinal Air) 

□ MEANING: Ox Goad 


ter of the Lords of Truth; the 
Ruler of the Balance. 

THIRTY-TWO PATHS OF WISDOM: The Twenty-second Path 
is the Faithful Intelligence, and is so called because by it 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 191 

spiritual virtues are increased, and all dwellers on earth are 
nearly under its shadow. 

The Path of Lamed, JUSTICE is between Tiphareth and Geburah. 
Lamed means ox-goad, the spear-like prod which keeps the ox moving down the 
road. This attribution points to the letter’s special relationship with Aleph (ox) 
on the Path of THE FOOL. Their interaction is exceptionally complex, although 
the essential principles can be simply stated: JUSTICE maintains the balance 
of the Tree, so that the outpouring energy of THE FOOL (this has sometimes 
been called the “ Holy Ghost”) will operate within the confines of a natural 
pattern. JUSTICE is the administrator of the laws of Binah, written by THE 
HIEROPHANT. It is the “Ruler of the Balance.” 

It is called the Faithful Intelligence “because its spiritual values are 
increased, and all dwellers on earth are nearly under its shadow.” This should 
not be interpreted to mean the Intelligence of faith. Rather it is the Intelligence 
which is faithful to that symbolized by THE FOOL. Without Lamed, Aleph 
could not function as it does. Moreover, the entire Tree of Life is related to the 
Twenty-Second Path, the number of which is the totality of all the Paths. 
JUSTICE is not one solitary figure or force, it is an amalgam of all the Paths 
which are self-focused. The alignment of forces has been described as being 
within the essential life force symbolized by THE FOOL. 

The activity of JUSTICE is at work continuously in the above and 
below, in the Greater Universe and in the individual soul. Taken to the most 
mundane, as we drive a vehicle down the road, JUSTICE is our correcting of the 
wheel back and forth in either direction to keep the vehicle centered. Such a 
purposeful equilibriating function occurs in our bodies, where nourishment 
must be balanced and continual to keep them operating as proper repositories 
for the Spirit. And an equilibriating function occurs in our personalities, where 
no constant extreme of behavior can be tolerated if we are to operate effectively 
in our environments. Justice works both through reason and through natural 
force. We may decide to bring something of ourselves into balance, but if we do 

192 The Qabalistic Tarot 

not make that decision, it will be made for us. If we deprive our bodies of sleep, 
we find ourselves forced to rest. We may simply collapse. The same process 
occurs at all levels of Justice (i.e., through the Four Worlds). We may make a 
conscious decision, or it may be made for us. In any event, this Intelligence is 
“Faithful;” it guides and protects us. 

Crowley’s title, Adjustment, is appropriate. This is a Path where 
whatever is necessary is done to bring the organism into equilibrium, a process 
which, as the symbol of the sword suggests, is not always pleasant. This is the 
sword of Geburah which cuts away all that which is unnecessary, the ex- 
traneous dead wood of nature. It is a severe experience, though no punish- 
ment is implicit. There is no question of good, bad, right or wrong. As Gareth 
Knight expresses it: “The point to remember in all this is that all the God- 
Forms are aspects of the soul itself and not external agencies. Thus the pro- 
cess may be considered psychologically as a condition of self-assessment .” 169 
The soul weighs itself on the scales in the left hand and then makes necessary 
adjustments wielding the sword in the right. One will observe that when the 
Sephiroth are placed in the human body, Geburah is at the right hand and 
Chesed at the left . 170 

The sword of JUSTICE, the weapon of Elohim Gibor (God of Geburah) is 
fearful. It can be swift and devastating in its cutting away of what is no longer 
needed. It can make war; it can enforce peace. But the sword has two edges, one 
of which destroys and the other of which consecrates as in the conferring of 
knighthood. The cutting away of the negative aspects of body and soul is a 
return to purity, a consecration. This idea of renewed purity is reinforced by 
the attribution of Libra and the kidneys, which cleanse waste from the body 
system. Another parallel, suggested by some writers, is that this Path relates to 
Purgatory, a condition of consciousness after death where the soul is cleansed of 
the dross of its earthly incarnation. 

Pursuant to the idea of incarnation and reincarnation, this card is said 
to represent Karma, a principle generally understood as the reaping by a 
newborn soul of what it has sown in past lives. Paul Case, however, insisting 
that the term has been often misunderstood, states that what Karma really 
means is action. This is an action which is a continuous adjustment. 

He also describes this key as related to education, insofar as Lamed 
means to teach . 111 This is an especially interesting observation, not found 
elsewhere. The conscious maintenance of balance is definitely a learning 
process. We learn, often slowly and painfully, how to analyze and re-balance 
ourselves as necessary for different situations. The more we learn of the inner 
worlds, the more subtle and difficult this becomes. Perfect balance is a formula 
so precise that the Egyptians symbolized its delicacy as the human soul 
weighed against a feather. 

These ancients had a concept of “right, truth, law and rectitude” 
expressed by the single word maat. This originally meant “that which is 
straight,” but came to mean also a rule, a measure of some kind, or a law . 172 
Maat was symbolized by the feather, against which either the heart of the 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 193 

deceased or his whole body was weighed. In illustrations, we find this weigh- 
ing administered by Anubis, and the results recorded by Thoth. Crowley re- 
lates both of these Gods to the Nineteenth Path, STRENGTH, which is the 
balance between Geburah and Chesed. The implication is that the adjustment 
which takes place on the Twenty-Second Path is administered and recorded 
through the processes of the Nineteenth Path. 

As a Goddess, Maat represented moral law and truth. She was, in 
essence, the personification of the concept of maat. It is this Goddess who is 
shown on the Crowley card, crowned with her attribute, the ostrich feather. The 
weighing of souls is, of course, also implied in the Golden Dawn, Waite and 
Marseilles versions, the latter two being medieval in tone. 

In the Golden Dawn card the figure of a woman rests her feet on a jackal, 
the animal attributed to Anubis who supervises the weighing of souls. She holds 
scales which, as in the Crowley card, are black as a reference both to Binah and 
to Saturn. This means not only assessment, but restriction, which is also time, 
an important aspect of the administration of the law. By contrast, the Waite 
version, as well as that produced by the BOTA, shows golden scales, meaning 
that the individual soul is measured as it stands within the pure golden Light of 
Tiphareth. It is only under this Light that the sword of Geburah does its work, 
as is suggested by the Maat legend. Maat relates to the Sun God, Ra. She is, in 
fact known as the “Daughter of Ra,” as she is Qabalistically named the 
“Daughter of the Lords of Truth.” The Egyptians also called her “Queen of 

Most important is that Maat is the regulator of the Path of the Sun. The 
Egyptian texts suggest that it is through Maat that the Sun subsists, for Ra is 
said to “rest upon Maat,” and to “live by Maat .” 173 In our terms this means that 
the principles of The Path of JUSTICE maintain Tiphareth. But insofar as Ra 
is the source of all Light, he is also THE FOOL. Thus one can paraphrase, and 
say that Aleph rests upon Lamed and that Lamed is the regulator of the Path of 
the Divine Life Force. 

The relationship between Aleph and Lamed conceals the greatest secret 
of the Tarot, one which is, as Crowley said “beyond all planetary and zodiacal 
considerations,” meaning Kether! In his Book of the Law, bR is the key to the 
entire Universe, revealing a mystery of unspeakable profundity. On the Tree of 
Life, is also the God Name of Chesed, the Demiurge (Lesser Creator) from 
which Microprosopus is formed. 

A great many planets are involved in this card. First is Venus, which 
rules Libra, to which this Path is directly attributed. Mars is related because 
this is an exercise of the purging energies of Geburah. The Sun is involved not 
only because the Path runs from the Sun to Mars, but because Justice must take 
place in the clear bright sunlight of Truth. Saturn has already been mentioned, 
and is exalted in Libra. Finally there is Jupiter, Planet of Chesed, and of . 

To state that Libra is ruled by Venus is also to state that behind 
JUSTICE stands THE EMPRESS, the primary Path of Venus which is the 
perfect balance between the energies of Chokmah and Binah. The reference is 
also to the nature forces of Netzach. 

194 The Qabalistic Tarot 

Having noted that Lamed in some way refers to all of the Twenty-Two 
Paths and Hebrew letters, it is interesting to recall that Venus refers to all of the 
Sephiroth. Venus is the only planet whose symbol encompasses every single 
Sephira on the Tree of Life (see Figure 14), the implication being that love is the 
ultimate power of the Universe. Thus, to say that V enus rules Libra-Lamed is to 
say: That which encompasses all of the Sephiroth rules that which encompasses 
all of the Paths. This may be understood by again considering the idea that the 
Sephiroth are objective, while the Paths are subjective. Objectivity and 
subjectivity are complementary conditions. One cannot exist without the other, 
any more than the color red can exist without the possibility of green, or the 
energies of Mars can exist without those of Venus. Even the floor of the Golden 
Dawn card, on which lies the jackal of Anubis, refers to a complementary 
condition, that of Greater and Lesser Creators: The white (which actually 
represents pure brilliance) is Kether, while purple is the color of Chesed in 
Atziluth. All of the symbolism here points to the idea that this figure is keeping 
opposites in balance. It is a regulator of energy. 

Perhaps surprisingly, Waite emphasizes the Mars aspect of JUSTICE 
over its Venus aspect by having the figure clothed primarily in red. And if his 
card is considered on the pattern of the Tree of Life (when the card is placed on 
the Path of Lamed) it will be seen that the raised sword points to Geburah while 
the scales are lowered in the direction of Tiphareth. The same purple as in the 
Golden Dawn tile floor appears on the cloth of honor behind the figure. The 
background itself is yellow, meaning Tiphareth. 

The differences in the colors of the three versions of JUSTICE point out 
the differing concepts of the designers. The Golden Dawn emphasizes green, 
flashing against a red throne with a pale blue background. Crowley’s card relies 
on the blues and greens of the Twenty-Second Path in the Four Worlds. The 
blues are especially vibrant as a reference to the effect of Jupiter on the Path. 

Crowley’s Adjustment is among the most abstract of his Keys. He calls 
the figure not only the Goddess Maat, but also Harlequin, “the partner and 
fulfillment of THE FOOL.” The figure stands within a diamond-shape which is 
the Vesica Piscis. Behind her is a throne of spheres and pyramids, in groups of 
four, meaning “Law and limitation.” This is another reference to Chesed. As 
Maat she wears ostrich feathers, with the Uraeus serpent, Lord of Life and 
Death, on her forehead. She holds the Sword (a male symbol in this context) in 
such a way as to suggest sexual union, and the “completion” of the female. This 
is what is described in 777 as “The Woman justified. By equilibrium and Self- 
sacrifice is the Gate.” 173 A scale, springing from a point above her head, weighs 
all that is in creation, the Alpha and the Omega. She is total equilibrium, yet in 
constant motion: “She is the ultimate illusion which is manifestation; she is the 
dance, many-coloured, many-wiled, of Life itself. Constantly whirling, all 
possibilities are enjoyed, under the phantom show of Space and Time; all things 
are real, the soul is the surface, precisely because they are instantly compen- 
sated by this Adjustment. All things are harmony and beauty; all things are 
truth: because they cancel out.” 174 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 195 


The Wheel of Fortune 

The Tenth Key 

□ PATH COLOR: Violet 


□ PLANET: Jupiter 

□ MEANING: Fist 



□ ESOTERIC TITLE: The Lord of 
the Forces of Life 

THIRTY-TWO PATHS OF WISDOM: The Twenty-first Path is 
the Intelligence of Conciliation, and is so called because it 
receives the divine influence which flows into it from its 
benediction upon all and each existence. 

The Path of Caph, the WHEEL OF FORTUNE, runs from Chesed to 
Netzach. It is the connecting Path between the Personality and the Higher Self 
on the Pillar of Mercy under Chokmah. The Thirty-Two Paths of Wisdom calls it 
the Intelligence of Conciliation, implying that it has a mediating function. And, 
in view of what has been considered about the regulation of energy on the Path 
of JUSTICE, it is not surprising to learn that Jupiter is assigned to this Path, or 
that Jupiter is said to govern the circulation of the blood. 

Caph is a double letter, one of the “Gateways of the Soul.” To it are 
attributed the opposites of riches and poverty which could be considered the 
natural fluctuation of the Jupiter forces on this Path. Of course, the riches and 
poverty are not of this earth, they are of the soul itself. 

196 The Qabalistic Tarot 

As a word Kaph means fist. It is the closed hand which symbolizes 
grasping comprehension, as well as the completion of an activity or the closing 
of a circle. It is closed, and yet it is in a state continuous motion, a cycle always 
in many stages at the same time. In this regard Kaph is the scarf covering the 
Dancer in the UNIVERSE card. Moreover it will be found that as Kaph is the 
closed hand, the card preceding it, THE HERMIT (Yod) is an open one. 

The wheel, so important to this Path, is a very ancient symbol of life 
itself, the very turning of which, in some systems, is a prayer. It is the wheel of 
birth, death and rebirth. It is the wheel of karma. But it is emphatically not a 
wheel of chance or accidents. There are no accidents in the Universe, which is 
one of the key lessons of this card. We are solely responsible for our own 
destinies. Fortune provides us what we earn, which is not always pleasant. 

The key to the WHEEL OF FORTUNE is duality and the interchange of 
energies between opposites which make the wheel spin. The wheel is the activity 
of all manifestation, as is symbolized in the Golden Dawn version by the twelve 
spokes. These are the Signs of the Zodiac, each in its correct Atziluth-Path color. 
The Crowley deck uses ten spokes to symbolize the totality of the Sephiroth, 
while Waite uses a system of eight spokes based on twice four: the letters TAR 
O and the nHT> . The pattern of Waite’s wheel is based on the Wheel of 
Ezekiel illustrated by L4vi in his Magical Ritual of the Sanctum Regnum, 115 and 
described by the older occultist in very complex terms: 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 197 

The Wheel of Ezekiel contains the solution of the problem of the 
quadrature of the circle, and demonstrates the correspondences 
between words and figures, letters and emblems; it exhibits the 
tetragram of characters analogous to that of the elements and 
elemental forms. It is a glyph of perpetual motion. The triple 
ternary is shown; the central point is the first Unity; three circles 
are added, each with four attributions, and the dodekad is thus 
seen. The state of universal equilibrium is suggested by the 
counterpoised emblems, and the pairs of symbols. The flying Eagle 
balances the man; the roaring Lion counterpoises the laborious 

Kether, the Crown, Tiphareth, Beauty; and Yesod, Founda- 
tion, form a central axis, while Wisdom, Chokmah, equilibrium 
with Understanding, Binah; and the Severity of Justice, Geburah, 
makes a counterpoise with the Mercy of Justice, Chesed. 176 

Insofar as dualities in active manifestation are implied here, it might be 
suggested that two wheels would better describe what is intended than one: i.e., 
one wheel interlocked in another like a gyroscope, each turning in different 
directions. This really illustrates what is meant by the Intelligence of 
Conciliation. It is the mediation of activity between rotating opposites. 
Rotation, in this sense, means a sequence, something which begins and ends 
and then begins again. This means periodicity, rhythms of activity as well as 
cause and effect, what the Golden Dawn text calls the “counterchanging 
influence of Light and Darkness.” Waite describes this activity as “the 
perpetual motion of a fluidic universe. . . the flux of human life. The Sphinx is 
the equilibrium therein.” 

The Sphinx is the stable element in the midst of change. Thus in both 
the Crowley and the Waite cards it sits at the very top of the Wheel. In the 
Golden Dawn card, however, it is removed from the Wheel entirely. While 
Crowley and Waite emphasize the Sphinx as a balancing phase of cyclic energy, 
the Golden Dawn card emphasizes its role as the guardian of the gateway of the 
mysteries, holding the secret of life and death. 

This interpretation is a later (largely Greek) one, colored to some extent 
by eighteenth century romanticism. In Egypt the Sphinx was originally a 
portrait of the Pharoah, symbolizing his great power (the lion’s body) over 
adversaries. This view is corroborated by numerous reliefs in which the Sphinx- 
Pharoah is shown vanquishing his enemies. 

The best known Sphinx is that presumed to be Cheops, who built the 
Great Pyramid about 2500 B.C. When the Greeks saw this monumental 
sculpture, more than 1500 years later, they took it to mean all that was 
mysterious and magical, a sense reflected in the tale of Oedipus on the road to 
Thebes. The Sphinx barred the road and asked each traveler the question: 
“What walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon, and three legs in the 
afternoon?” Those who failed to answer the question were destroyed. Oedipus, 
however, knew that the answer was man, himself, who crawls in childhood, 

198 The Qabalistic Tarot 

walks on two legs in adulthood, and uses a cane in old age. The response of the 
Sphinx to Oedipus’ correct answer was to throw itself into the sea, an action 
replete with meaning for the student of the Qabalah. 

The Greeks brought one important modification to the Sphinx image. 
What was originally the portrait of a pharoah on a lion’s body became a woman 
on the body of a male lion. Thus, the Sphinx came to represent not only man 
with the raw power of the animal kingdom, but also a balance of male and 
female in the same form. 177 

The special importance of the Sphinx to the Golden Dawn is discussed in 
the Order’s papers on the Enochian Mysteries: 

Now learn a mystery of the Wisdom of Egypt. ‘When the Sphinx 
and the Pyramid are united, thou hast the formulae of the Magic of 

‘These are the keys of the wisdom of all Time; and its beginning - 
who knoweth it? In their keeping are the sacred mysteries and the 
knowledge of Magic and all the Gods.’ 

In the ritual of the 32nd Path leading into the Theoricus Grade, it is 
thus written. ‘The Sphinx of Egypt spake and said: I am the 
synthesis of the Elemental Forces. I am also the symbol of Man. I 
am Life. I am Death. I am the Child of the Night of Time. 178 

Most original here is the concept that the Sphinx is the synthesis of the 
Elemental Forces (recalling the Pentagram, symbol of man, which is the Spirit 
above the four Elements. In fact, the documents state that there are four forms 
of the Sphinx: Bull, Eagle, Man and Lion. 179 

It is not entirely clear why Waite has shown these animal symbols 
holding books, although we must assume this to be a reference to the Four 
Gospels. The Lion, Eagle, Man, and Bull, found in the vision of Ezekiel, 180 and 
possibly of Assyrian origin, were taken by Christianity to represent the Four 
Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. And when the Kerubiim are 
shown holding books, it means the different aspects of Christ about which each 
Evangelist wrote. 181 Here Waite may be extending an assertion by L6vi that the 
Wheel is comparable to the Greek monogram of Christ. What is important, at 
any event, is the amalgam of Four Elements on this Path. The Sphinx is the 
Kerubiim all in one. Moreover, the Pyramid which, when united with the Sphinx 
supposedly provides a magical formula, is four-sided and refers to Chesed. 

The Sphinx is, thus, a cardinal symbol of manifestation. It is both that 
through which one passes in birth or death, and that which contols the passage. 
It is the directing aspect of the Higher Self in Tiphareth; it is protective, and a 
Keeper of the Gates which keeps the Personality from absorbing more than its 
system can handle. To be able to correctly answer the question of the Sphinx 
(that answer being an extension of the Greek axiom: Man, know thyself!) means 
that one is prepared to pass through the gates of inner consciousness. To pursue 
the Oedipus legend: When the question was correctly answered, the Sphinx 
threw itself into the sea. This means that, being no longer needed, the “gate” 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 199 

now being open, the Gate Keeper was absorbed back into the Great Sea of 
consciousness. More accurately, it was absorbed back into the Individual 
Higher Consciousness which created it. On the other hand, the Sphinx “slays” 
those who are unready to pass consciously beyond the restrictions of time and 
space, concepts valid only in terms of matter. The destruction by the Sphinx of 
those travelers who cannot answer its question, is the protection of the 
Personality by the Higher Self. But it may also be considered the real death 
process. Those who know the nature of the Sphinx may pass consciously from 
one state to the next, while others fall into a deep sleep, a “destruction” of 
awareness from which the soul gradually awakens into a new condition. 

Beside the Wheel itself, the Sphinx is the only element common to the 
three modem versions of the Key shown here. The Golden Dawn card has only 
two figures, that of the Sphinx and the Cynocephalus. The Waite card shows the 
Sphinx, Hermanubis and Typhon, as does Crowley’s version. 

The figures in the Marseilles key represent a transitional period in the 
Wheel of Life iconography. The Wheel, which seems to have originated during 
the Romanesque period (llth-12th centuries), was a popular device for 
representing man at the mercy of changing fortune. 182 In the earliest versions 
human figures were shown on the Wheel, with one above that is ruling. Animal 
figures were probably introduced toward the end of the fifteenth century to 
underscore man’s animal nature and the mutability of life. Thus, the Marseilles 
card shows very generalized figures of good and evil, with a ruler above who 
balances these aspects on the Wheel. The imagery serves to remind us, by 
comparison with the other cards, of the extent to which the symbolic 
explanation of the Tarot has been embellished over the past two hundred years. 
From the mid-nineteenth century on, each of the card’s figures has borne a very 
specific mythological reference. 

Beginning with the Golden Dawn card: What is called the Plutonian 
Cynocephalus is a dog-faced ape sitting beneath the Wheel. This animal, 
symbolizing time and eternity, is the traditional companion of Thoth (Hermes- 
Mercury), and is the hieroglyphic symbol for writing. 183 Thoth is the inventor of 
writing and the scribe of the Gods, who waits, especially, upon Osiris. It is he, 
called the Lord of Holy Words, who records the results of the weighing of souls 
on the Path of JUSTICE. Thoth is also said to have measured time, dividing it 
into years, months and seasons. Thus time and eternity is attributed to his 
companion, the Cynocephalus, which the ancients referred to the Moon, the 
“planet” believed to follow Mercury. 

The implication of the Golden Dawn illustration is that the Sphinx and 
the Cynocephalus are two different ( above and below) aspects of the stable force 
which monitors and regulates life’s seasons. The Sphinx is the quadripartite 
Elemental Being guided by the Higher Consciousness (the human head). The 
Cynocephalus (body of the faithful ape linked with the head of a form almost 
human) means the “words” which we use. These words are the vibratory 
patterns of existence which turn the Wheel. And, as the Gospel of St. John 
begins: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the 
Word was God.” 184 This passage has to do with the Lesser Divine Creator, the 

200 The Qabalistic Tarot 

Demiurge which we have identified as Chesed, origin of the Path of the WHEEL 
OF FORTUNE. In general the card means that when the Higher Self brings the 
Four Elements under control, the “words,” vibratory patterns, become our 
faithful companion, and we are no longer bound to the wheel. 

The Waite and Crowley cards, both more traditional than that of the 
Golden Dawn, must be interpreted in terms of the interaction of Sphinx, 
Hermanubis and Typhon. Hermanubis is a dual God, which Case mistakenly 
called a combination of Hermes and Anubis, but actually combining Horus and 
Anubis. He is Heru-em-Anpu, meaning Horus as Anubis. This God form, a later 
Egyptian development, is described by Wallis Budge as possessed of “two 
distinct and opposite aspects; as the guide of heaven and the leader of souls to 
Osiris, he was a beneficent God, but as the personification of death and decay he 
was a being who inspired terror .” 185 

The myth of Typhon or Typhoeus is of Greek origin. Typhon was 
involved in the wars of supremacy of the Gods. He was a monster so horrible 
that even the Gods fled at the sight of him. But, as the legend goes, he was 
eventually subdued by Zeus, who set him afire and buried him under Mt. Aetna. 
So Typhon became known as the fire-breathing monster who personified 
volcanoes and typhoons. He was also called the Father of the Sphinx. 

As his mythology developed, Typhon was associated with the Egyptian 
God, Set, brother and murderer of Osiris. Set was the symbolic dark side of 
Osiris (recalling the Golden Dawn text stating that this card involves the 
“counterchanging influence of Light and Darkness”). Typhon is also associated 
with the Dragon Aphophis, who is the accuser in the Book of the Dead. Insofar 
as Typhon is shown as a snake, as in the Waite card, he is one of the forms of 
Set . 186 All of this is linked together by the idea that Anubis, who is also Horus, is 
often represented (like St. George) slaying the Serpent. 

Thus in Typhon and Hermanubis we have phases of energy which 
supersede (“slay”) one another, three types of energy which underlie manifesta- 
tion. These appear at the center of Waite’s Wheel as the symbols of Salt ©, 
Sulphur A , and Mercury § . The fourth figure, the same as the sign 
of Aquarius is the Alchemical symbol for dissolution. 

In the Hindu system, what the West calls the “Three Alchemical 
Principles,” are called Gunas. The Gunas are Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. Sattva 
is the philosophic Mercury, superconsciousness. Rajas is Sulphur, activity, 
passion and desire. Gunas is Salt; it is ignorance and inertia, subconsciousness. 
The idea that the WHEEL OF FORTUNE symbolizes the revolution of natural 
phases is generally accepted, though there is some confusion about which of the 
Gunas is applied to which figure. Crowley states that the Sphinx is Sulphur, 
Hermanubis is Mercury and Typhon is Salt . 187 

The Golden Dawn version, on the other hand, would allow the Sphinx to 
be considered nothing less than the Superconsciousness, Sattva, the Philoso- 
phic Mercury. And we see that in Waite’s card the Sphinx sits above the 
Mercury sign on the Wheel. 

In the Golden Dawn papers it is stated that Mercury is attributed to 
Kether, Salt is attributed to Chokmah and Sulphur is attributed to Binah. The 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 201 

“Three Principles of Nature” are also related to the three Maternal letters of the 
Sepher Yetzirah. 


The Hermit 

The Ninth Key 

□ PATH COLOR: Green-yellowish 


□ SIGN: Virgo (Mutable Earth) 

□ MEANING: Hand 

□ SIMPLE LETTER: Sexual Love 

phet of the Eternal, the Magus 
of the Voice of Power 

THIRTY-TWO PATHS OF WISDOM: The Twentieth Path is the 
Intelligence of Will, and is so called because it is the means of 
preparation of all and each created being, and by this intel- 
ligence the existence of the Primordial Wisdom becomes known. 

The Path of Yod, connects Tiphareth (the Christ-Buddha center) and 
Chesed (the Architect of Manifestaton). In brief, it represents the self-sustained, 
primal beginnings of manifestation. It is the very point of origin of our manifest 
Universe, in direct contact with the Divine Source of All. It is the Path from the 
Demiurge out of darkness. It is the coming of the Light of manifestation 
through Microprosopus. 

Insofar as the sign Virgo is attributed to the twentieth Path, we 
understand the Hermit to be ever-virgin, pure, and totally innocent. And insofar 
as it represents a gateway to the bridge between Macroprosopus and Micro- 
prosopus, it involves certain qualities of Daath. 

202 The Qabalistic Tarot 

These Daath qualities are represented by the very isolation of the figure: 
There is something naturally mysterious and compelling about this figure 
standing alone in the desert holding its own source of Light. One immediately 
thinks of Diogenes in search of an honest man, or Moses (whose head 
supposedly emanated rays of light) or Christ as the “Light of the World.” One 
may also consider, in studying this solitary figure, that monasticism first began 
in the Egyptian desert in the third and fourth centuries after the death of Christ. 
Extreme asceticism and withdrawal from society were considered a means of 
perfection. In fact, the very word hermit comes from a Greek word meaning 
desert, the place where some of the earliest monks lived in walled-up rooms of 
one window. 

The higher the card on the Tree of Life, the more important it is that we 
let the card suggest such images as they will. The image of a desert, for example, 
is a very potent one. Conceptually, it is an expanse of earth as indefinably vast 
as the ocean. And as we consider Binah in the image of deep, dark, endless 
waters, we may envision the desert as a crystallization or precipitation out of 
Binah’s vast sea of consciousness. 

THE HERMIT is an expression of the same energy as THE FOOL. It is 
at once the wise old age of the Child (of the Golden Dawn FOOL card) and the 
virgin beginning of a new sequence. It is the purity and innocence of THE FOOL 
as it is transformed in the projection of Microprosopus through Binah. The idea 
that THE FOOL (child) is at the same time THE HERMIT (old man) may best 
be understood by meditating on the snake which holds its tail in its mouth, the 
traditional symbol of wisdom. 

It has been stated that JUSTICE, the Path opposite THE HERMIT, 
administers the energies in manifestation of THE FOOL. Thus, we appreciate 
that JUSTICE and THE HERMIT must also work together in some basic way. 
One clue to this mystery is, again, in the bn , JUSTICE + THE FOOL, which 
is also the God Name of Chesed, point of origin of the Path of THE HERMIT. 

Most important is that THE HERMIT represents communication 
between the Higher Self of Tiphareth (the Ruach) and the Spiritual Self of 
Kether (the Yechidah). For this reason the Golden Dawn text calls THE 
HERMIT the first of three great initiatory cards, the others being STRENGTH 
and THE CHARIOT. In this regard it should be pointed out that the experiences 
of all these Paths may be gained on the Path of THE HIGH PRIESTESS. That 
Path not only encompasses all Paths above Tiphareth, but crosses the Abyss 
with its devastating experience of Divine reconciliation through isolation. 

However THE HERMIT may be described, it is pre-eminently one of 
union. It represents the first point of awareness by the Higher Self of the 
Supreme Spiritual Self, explicable only in the most erotic of imagery. This idea 
is supported by the Sepher Yetzirah, which attributes sexual love to the simple 
letter Yod. But this is not the sexuality of coition, for the card is the essence of 
isolation and singularity. The “sexuality” is self-contained and self-sustaining, 
a quality cryptically described in the Golden Dawn documents as “Prudence.” 

Yod is related to Kether not only insofar as it is isolated and self- 
contained, but also in that it forms the graphic root for all of the other letters of 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 203 

the Hebrew alphabet. Moreover, the Yod is phallic. It is the Male-Fire which 
rushes out toward the Female-Water. In the Golden Dawn version this is 
symbolized by the sign on the front of the Hermit’s hood. The Yod within a fire 
triangle means that the Yod is the very essence of spiritual fire within 
Microprosopus. It is, thus, an aspect of the Chokmah Force. It is the All-Father 
in manifestation below the Abyss, which is related to the Logos. 

The concept of Logos, while not at all difficult, is often misunderstood. 
Logos is a Greek term usually considered to mean word, which came to 
represent a principle of both Greek and Hebrew metaphysics. In the simplest 
possible terms: The Logos is a link, an intermediary between God and Man. The 
same is true for any sacrificed God, including Christ, Osiris, or Buddha. 

On the Tree of Life Tiphareth is the objective Logos, the objective center 
of energy produced by the Demiurge (Chesed) as a direct link of the Lower with 
the Higher. But, in terms of the Paths, which are subjective, the link is on the 
Path of the Hermit. This is to say that while objectively Tiphareth is the Logos 
center; subjectively, in order to understand this transitional energy, we must 
rise above Tiphareth toward Chesed, on the Path of THE HERMIT. 

Qabalistic attitudes toward what is called the Logos relate largely to 
Philo, a Jewish philosopher living at the time of Christ. He was a synthesizer of 
Greek and Hebrew thought. To the Hebrews the “word” (vibration) was Power. 
To the Greeks, the Logos was “spermatic,” meaning that it was the source of 
All. Heraclitis described it as a Divine Fire which stimulated and maintained 
order. The Stoics saw the Logos as an all-pervading force in the world. Later the 
neoplatonic doctrine of the Logos in emanations influenced the writer of the 
Sepher Yetzirah. 

What Philo did, no mean trick, was to combine the Jewish concept of 
Word, with the Platonic concept (related especially to the Timaeus) of 
manifestation evolving from a point of transition between the Godhead and 
Man. THE HERMIT may be considered a “Word” (Vibration) uttered into a vast 
space. The Word is that which continually stimulates the development of 
manifestation, which energizes the principles of form which it has produced. 

While the Hermit is often considered a Christ figure, he is better related 
to Moses who led his people across the same Egyptian desert in which 
monasticism developed centuries later. Moses was first related to the Logos by 
an early Gnostic sect taking its name from the Simon Magus described in the 
Acts of the Apostles. These “Simonian Gnostics” of about the second century 
A.D. believed that the Book of Exodus was an allegory of the soul being led by 
the Logos (Moses) through the desert of life into the spiritual promised land . 188 

In other terms, Moses is the Thaumaturge, the arch-magician. His staff 
is a wand of enormous power which strikes water from rock, and turns into a 
serpent at his bidding. This latter act refers to the use of the Kundalini (Yod) 
force by the Adept-Magician. That force is the Sacred Fire which is the essence 
of the Logos transmitted by the phallic wand. 

One other correspondence between Moses and the Logos is found in the 
interaction between the prophet and God as the burning bush. The word of God 
is not issued directly, but comes through Moses as intermediary, the function of 

204 The Qabalistic Tarot 

the Logos. More than this, Moses may be considered a tool of the Supreme Father, 
carrying out His Will. In this regard, the hand, man’s ultimate creative tool, is 
attributed to Yod. THE HERMIT is the very hand of God. 

The hand of THE HERMIT is open as opposed to that of the WHEEL OF 
FORTUNE. The open hand is a sign of ultimate power, found especially in 
Byzantine representations of the Pantocrator, Christ as the Ruler of the 
Universe. But the open hand is also a sign of innocence; it may give and take 
freely without the impediments of thought or moral restrictions. The open hand 
represents THE HERMIT as Prophet, the completed adept. 

Insofar as THE HERMIT is the Adept-Magician, he is the agent of the 
Supreme Will and, as such, the Thirty-Two Paths of Wisdom calls the Twentieth 
Path the Intelligence of Will. There is a strong link between THE HERMIT and 
the Path of THE MAGICIAN (the Intelligence of Transparency) since Virgo is 
ruled by Mercury. This means that the Philosophic Mercury ultimately directs 
the course of the Yod-Fire on the Paths. 

The fact that Virgo is an earth sign may be somewhat confusing in that 
any discussion of THE HERMIT invariably centers on the idea of Fire. 
Hopefully it has been understood that the Fire in question here is not the same 
as either Elemental Fire or Maternal Fire. THE HERMIT could be called the 
“First Earth” within which a Sacred Fire operates. The Yod force, again, 
ennervates to keep the world in order, a stimulus which could be described as a 
fertilization. The concept is an extremely difficult one which has to do with 
multi-faceted potentiality. Approached from another direction, it could be said 
that the most ordered existence is Earth, here represented as wholly barren, but 
with the potential for all life. In the Golden Dawn card, the importance of Binah 
in this process is suggested by the red band around the Hermit’s waist. The 
Venusian green of earth is bound up by the Atziluth-red Binah cord. 

The Golden Dawn emphasizes the earthy, monastic qualities of the 
figure. And while it may be stretching the symbolism to make the suggeston, the 
dual robes recall the titles of Binah and Chokmah: The Outer Robe of 
Concealment (Binah) and The Inner Robe of Concealment (Chokmah). The staff 
is, of course, referred to Chokmah. It is held here in such a way as to suggest 
that it is to be planted, and will grow leaves and flowers. 

Of the four versions, only Crowley’s suggests the motion and activity 
which is essential to the Yod. And, as usual, his card requires more explanation 
than the others. He emphasizes, for example, the idea that THE HERMIT is 
rooted in Binah, by cloaking him entirely in red. 

Before the red figure is the Orphic Egg with a serpent wrapped around it. 
In the ancient Orphic Mysteries this signified the Cosmos encircled by the Fiery 
Spirit, which is Yod. Behind the figure is Cerberus, the three-headed dog who 
guards the gates of Hell, and who has been tamed by the Hermit. The 
spermatazoon is symbolic of the Yod energies in the material world, while the 
staff which transmits the sexual force, is completely hidden. As Crowley states: 
“In this Trump is shewn the entire mystery of Life in its most secret workings. 
Yod=Phallus=Spermatazoon=Hand= : Logos=Virgin .” 189 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 205 

Yod has been called The Crown, meaning that it is the highest point of 
the Logos, the primary energy from which manifestation derives. And, of 
course, any reference to Crown points to Kether, the Crown above All. 

The last symbol to be considered is the Lamp which, in all versions 
refers to Tiphareth, and makes a statement about the very nature of Light. In 
the Golden Dawn rituals this principle was expressed in three languages: Khabs 
am Pekht (Coptic); Konx om Pax (Greek); Light in Extension. This means that 
Light is the principle of manifestation, that on which all of Creation is built. So 
the Hermit may be said to represent a glyph on the nature of primal 
manifestation beneath the Abyss, and of the relationship between Light and the 
Sacred Fire symbolized by Yod. 

One would expect that the placement of the letters Yod, Heh and Vau on 
the Tree of Life would have profound meaning. Thus it is particularly intriguing 
to realize that these letters work together as a trinity from Chesed to Tiphareth 
to Chokmah, and back to Chesed. Yod is THE HERMIT, Heh is THE 
EMPEROR and Vau is THE HIEROPHANT, all functioning to the side of the 
Pillar of Mercy on the Tree of Life. The intention here is not to offer an 
explanation, but to suggest a very valuable subject for meditation. 


The Eighth Key 

□ PATH COLOR: Yellow-Green- 


□ SIGN: Leo (Fixed Fire) 

□ MEANING: Snake 


ter of the Flaming Sword 

206 The Qabalistic Tarot 

THIRTY-TWO PATHS OF WISDOM: The Nineteenth Path is 
the Intelligence of all the activities and spiritual beings, and is so 
called because of the affluence diffused by it from, the most high 
blessing and most exalted sublime glory. 

In our upward progress on the Tree of Life the Path of STRENGTH leads 
to the edge of the Abyss, as did THE HERMIT. And as we come closer and closer 
to the source of All, the Ultimate Simplicity, it is perhaps paradoxical that the 
symbolism becomes increasingly complex. In the lower cards, energies and 
experiences can be accurately described in words. But at this level on the Tree, 
and above we learn primarily by meditation on the inter-relationship of 
symbols, in which great profundities are secretly imbedded. Few, for example, 
might even suspect that this picture of a woman with a lion could have such 
vast meaning. 

In terms of evolution, the nineteenth Path is the first Path of Micro- 
prosopus, the Lesser Countenance. It is the outpouring of energy from Chesed 
to Geburah in the process of manifestation; it is the primary Path of the Higher 
Self, linking the great opposites below the Abyss. It is the Path on which 
Fire becomes Light, for manifestation is Light, whereas the Supernals are a 
darkness which is fiery. Thus, in his Book of Tokens Case speaks of “the radiant 
Darkness of the Limitless Light .” 190 

To the Path of STRENGTH are assigned both the Hebrew letter Teth 
and the most powerful sign of the Zodiac, Leo. Leo is the lion, while Teth means 
snake, and the interchangeability of the lion and snake symbolism is an 
important key to the meaning of the card. As the symbols interchange, we 
understand that the realities which they represent can also be interchanged. 
The One Spirit takes any form It wills, which is an important lesson of this 
Path. The idea is clearly expressed in the Zohar: “The three principle elements 
of nature are fire, air and water. Really they are one in use and substance, and 
are able to change the one into the other. It is the same with Thought and 
Speech and Logos, they are one and the same in themselves .” 191 

As the Serpent holds its tail in its mouth it represents wisdom and the 
Universe (noting here that taste is attributed to Teth in the Sepher Yetzirah), 
whereas the same Serpent is described in Genesis as the Tempter. Moreover, 
insofar as it is the fiery, vital Life Force, it is also the Redeemer. This is the 
same, apparently contradictory idea encountered with the primary card of 
matter, THE DEVIL, which is also both Tempter and Redeemer. And, 
interestingly enough, the lion is occasionally related to Saturn, the supposed 
“place of Dwelling” of the Devil. Fortunately, the Qabalah allows us to put these 
symbols into very clear perspective, as Binah-Satum is the ultimate source of 
the Devil’s imprisoning matter. 

It must be admitted that the lion has been used in so many different 
cultures and symbolic pantheons, that it may be claimed to have mutually 
exclusive meanings. But, generally, references to the lion have to do with its 
physical strength (This is not a card of intellect in any way). The greatest 
strength of which man can conceive is the Light of the Sun, the ruler of Leo. 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 207 

And, as we shall consider, it is the lion which is permitted to open the Sacred 
Scroll of the Apocalypse. This means that the Solar Power, represented by this 
card, can open the higher levels of consciousness beyond the Sun (Tipahreth) 
itself. In symbolism, this is shown most graphically by representations of the 
Sun God Mithra, whose body is human, but whose head is that of a lion. 

The lion symbolism always implies a brute force which may be used 
constructively or destructively. This is the very Path on which the Sword of 
Geburah is formed, indicating that the possibility of the philosopher being 
overwhelmed by the power which he invokes is always present. Such danger is 
stressed, for example, in the story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den, one closely 
related to the symbolism of this card. Daniel is, like Moses, a Magician 
(Thaumaturge) holding back the destructive power of the lions through sheer 
force of will. 

Daniel, the three Hebrews in the fiery furance, Noah, and other such 
figures were chosen by the earliest Christians as Biblical representatives of 
salvation. On the wall of a catacomb, a depiction of Daniel means, in essence: 
“let him who is buried here be saved as Daniel was saved from the lions.” Thus, 
a simplistic faith in divine protection came to overshadow a symbolism of far 
greater consequence, that of the enlightened individual controlling the “animal 
potency” underlying all existence. 

In the symbolism of Alchemy, the lion takes three separate forms. First, 
there is the Green Lion, the energy of nature before it is purified and subjected to 
the will. Next is the Red Lion, represented on the card of STRENGTH. This is 
the force of nature under perfect control, what the Alchemists would describe as 
the Sulphur (Solar Energy) combined with Mercury (Will). Waite underscores 
this meaning by showing the infinity sign of THE MAGICIAN above the 
woman’s head; this is the directing willpower of the twelfth Path, what Mathers 
calls the Philosophic Mercury. Finally, there is the Old Lion, meaning the 
completely purified consciousness, the linking of all components of the Soul 
with the Highest Spiritual Self which is “older than time itself.” 

The lion figures in ancient legends and in Christian legends, such as the 
story of Saint Jerome, where the saint removes a thorn from the lion’s paw and 
the grateful animal becomes his servant . 192 The consistent thread running 
through such tales has to do with the wise person who subjugates the wild 
animal through the force of his humanity. It is the highest quality of man 
controlling the highest quality of beast (of which the lion is “King”), an idea 
sufficiently common in history that it may be considered an extension of Jung’s 
Wise Old Man archetype. In this regard, we appreciate that each and every one 
of the Tarot trumps represents a body of teaching, legend, or tradition, deeply 
rooted in the group soul of mankind and expressed in different ways throughout 

Pursuant to the relationship of the symbolic lion with the Sun, there is 
some possibility of confusion. At one level the lion is the Kerub of Fire, symbol 
of one of the Four Elements. But this is not the same as the lion of the Sun’s 
Spiritual Fire, or Kundalini, which is also the Serpent. 

The fiery lion-serpent is one aspect of the Life Force which, in 
manifestation, is a duality of activity and passivity. Kundalini, the Sacred Fire, 

208 The Qabalistic Tarot 

is the active phase of this energy, purposely unleashed and directed by the will. 
This is suggested by the double ends of the rods in the hands of the figure in 
THE UNIVERSE, a card related to STRENGTH in several ways. 

It will, for example, be noted that the scarf on the figure in the Golden 
Dawn card is similar to that worn by the figure in THE UNIVERSE. Both are 
veils. Both are concealing of principles, though at different ends of manifesta- 
tion. STRENGTH is the beginning of Microprosopus, while THE UNIVERSE is 
the completion of the process. The woman who has tamed the energy of the lion, 
and the woman who dances in space surrounded by the Four Kerubiim, are both 
expressions of that which is, at the highest level, called THE EMPRESS. 

This is a very powerful Path, one on which it is not possible for a 
sensitive person to meditate without profound effects on the psyche. The card 
may come to be appreciated as a statement of methodology, whereby the 
willpower controls the vital life energy. The Book of Tokens suggests that the 
secret of this methodology lies in number, although as used in that text the word 
means the germ of separation into what can be counted as divided from the One: 
“Number veileth the power of the Elohim, for Number is that thick darkness 
whereof it is written, ‘And Moses drew near unto the thick darkness Where God 
was;’ and again, ‘Tetragrammaton said that he would dwell in the thick 
darkness.’ ” And, it continues: “Of that darkness the Serpent is a sign, the Great 
Serpent, the royal snake of Egypt. This is the Serpent of temptation, Yet from it 
cometh redemption. For the Serpent is the first appearance of the Anointed 
One.” 193 

STRENGTH represents a very important initiatory formula dealing 
with the Serpent Power. It is this power which is used to stimulate the various 
chakras, or centers of energy in the body. The principles imbedded in number 
(as defined above) teach us how to use this power, which is not to suggest that 
the process is cold and distant. On the contrary, Crowley’s title. Lust, is quite 
appropriate. What is involved is the development of a “divine frenzy,” as is 
meant by the frequently-repeated instruction: “Inflame Thyself with Prayer!” 
Or, as the Alchemists express it, “The heat of the furnace makes the Stone.” The 
heat is a great passion within the confines of an exercise such as that of the 
Middle Pillar. 194 

The method is a recurring theme in the correspondence courses of Paul 
Case. In one lesson, he says of inner exercises: “By prolonged practice. . . 
pursued something for months and years without apparent result, those who 
follow the Way of Liberation effect changes in their subconsciousness. These 
changes are symbolized by Key 8 and produce at the same time the result shown 
in Key 16.” 195 Repeatedly he states that the whole point of meditational 
exercises is an actual and subtle change in the structure of the body cells. And 
those who are familiar with Dion Fortune’s definition of the Qabalah as the 
“Yoga of the West,” will appreciate that Case said directly things at which she 
was only willing to hint. 

When we have the important keys all mystical literature suddenly opens 
up and seems genuinely simple. Such is the case with the Book of Revelation 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 209 

(The Apocalpyse), which utterly confounds most biblical scholars, and is the 
source of some extraordinary scholarly nonsense. Revelation, like the Book of 
Genesis, is one of the great Qabalistic documents. Thus, one should not be 
surprised to find that STRENGTH (or Crowley’s Lust) relates directly to that 
work by St. John. 

In Revelation it is stated that the Lion, representative of the Tribe of 
Judah (the descendants of David), had “won the right to open the scroll and 
break its seven seals.” 196 But as the seals are to be broken we discover that the 
Lamb has taken the place of the Lion. The Lion has, in fact, become the Lamb of 
“Seven Eyes. ” These are the seven Chakras which are activated by the Lion- 
Serpent Power. This is the taming of the Lion by the woman in STRENGTH. In 
Qabalistic terms this means that to bring the energies symbolized by the Lion 
under perfect control, is to open the seals on the Book of Reality above the 
Abyss. The symbolism refers to the method by which one may know that from 
which manifestation emerges, the Supernal Triangle of the Tree of Life. It 
should be noted here that the Path of Teth is the highest on the Tree with no 
direct connections into the Supemals. It is, thus, an important Path of 
transition. It is, like THE HERMIT, a gateway to Daath. 

In the Golden Dawn version of both cards, Daath is suggested by the 
desert. As we cross the desert, going upwards, we are led out of bondage by the 
Logos itself (Moses as the Light). Even Crowley’s card may be interpreted in 
this way, though he has placed his card on the eleventh Path, traditionally 
given to JUSTICE. His symbolism is perfectly consistent with the meaning of 
the Golden Dawn or Waite cards, relative to Daath, of which he commented in 
the Equinox: “In Daath is said to be the Head of the Great Serpent Nechesh or 
Leviathon, called evil to conceal its Holiness.” 197 This reasoning is interesting 
in terms of Lust, where he represented the Seven-headed beast of the 
Apocalypse, with which he personally identified. One may suggest that Crowley 
related himself to the Beast under the same philosophical twist as he described 
for the Serpent, i.e., an evil which is only apparent, and actually concealing of 
the greatest good. One can argue theologically that God creates only good, and 
that what appears to be the greatest evil must actually conceal good. 

At any event, some may find it very uncomfortable, even pathological, 
that Crowley has so woven the trappings of his own personality into the cards, 
although it requires some study to understand the extent to which this is the 
case. Others may find his choice of imagery curious, wondering that he should 
illustrate a card of such spiritual potency as STRENGTH with the Scarlet 
Woman of the Apocalypse, riding the Beast. Crowley made the connection 
through Gematria on the number 666, to which he related his own name, The 
Sun, what he called the “Stele of Revealing,” and the Beast of Revelation. 

Although the image is somewhat shocking in this context, Crowley has 
used the Whore of Babylon to represent the epitome of virginity, that which is 
symbolized in the Golden Dawn card by the four flowers (Chesed) and by the 
wreath in Waite’s card. The principle is, again, that of the greatest evil 
concealing the greatest good. 

210 The Qabalistic Tarot 

The woman is of the same innocence as The Hermit. She is virgo intacto 
and it is only as such that she can, with complete safety, deal with the Lion. She 
might also be considered one of the Vestal Virgins keeping the Sacred Fire. 


The Chariot 

The Seventh Key 

□ PATH COLOR: Red-Orange 


□ SIGN: Cancer (Cardinal Water) 

□ MEANING: Fence, Enclosure 


of the Powers of the Waters; the 
Lord of The Triumph of Light 

THIRTY-TWO PATHS OF WISDOM: The Eighteenth Path is 
called the House of Influence (by the greatness of whose 
abundance the influx of good things upon created beings is 
increased), and from the midst of the investigation the arcana 
and hidden senses are drawn forth, which dwell in its shade and 
which cling to it, from the cause of all causes. 

The Path of THE CHARIOT runs between Geburah (Strength) and 
Binah, the Great Mother on the Tree of Life. It is the highest and, thus, the most 
profound Path on the Pillar of Severity. It is also the third initiation in the series 
of HERMIT, STRENGTH and CHARIOT, meaning that it is an introductory 
experience to the Supreme Spiritual Self. It is an initiation across the Abyss, 
appreciating that once one crosses the Abyss, all of its crossing Paths are 
understood. The four Paths beside THE HIGH PRIESTESS are in toto, the 
experience of the “Garden of Eden,” as will be understood by considering the 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 211 

Element attached to each Path: THE CHARIOT is Watery (Cancer), THE 
LOVERS is Airy (Gemini), THE EMPEROR is Fiery (Aries) and THE 
HIEROPHANT is Earthy (Taurus). These are also the Four Rivers of Paradise, 
which flow together into Tiphareth from the Path of THE HIGH PRIESTESS. 

THE CHARIOT represents a completion which Waite called a “conquest 
on all planes,” 198 meaning that THE CHARIOT carries the influence of the 
Higher to all of the lower Planes. The Thirty-Two Paths of Wisdom describes 
this as the “House of Influence (by the greatness of whose abundance the influx 
of good things upon created things is increased). . .” Here the ancient text 
implies that through this Path one may discover the secrets of the hidden senses 
“which dwell in its shade,” meaning the Supreme Darkness above the Abyss. 

This card also represents the vision of Ezekiel, 199 wherein the prophet 
described the appearance of “four living creatures.” Each had four faces, that of 
a Man, a Lion, an Ox and an Eagle. Beside each of the creatures was a wheel, 
“like a wheel within a wheel,” and as the creatures moved, so the wheels moved. 
Above the heads of these apparitions was “a vault glittering like a sheet of ice.” 
Above the vault was a throne, and on the throne was a radiant figure. The 
implication is that the creatures (Elemental energies of the manifest Universe) 
are The Chariot. 

Students of Jewish mysticism may be naturally curious about the roots 
of this card, since it is suggestive of one of the most important trends in early 
Jewish thought, that of the Merkahah. The Merkabah is the Chariot which 
carries the Throne. 200 

Of this trend, Gershom Scholem says: “The earliest Jewish mysticism is 
throne-mysticism. Its essence is not absorbed contemplation of God’s true 
nature, but perception of his appearance on the throne as described by 
Ezekiel.” 201 He further states that while in the earliest days, writers spoke of the 
“ascent to the Merkabah,” the later writers discussed enlightenment as the 
“descent to the Mercabah,” 202 presumably meaning a journey into the depths of 
Self. One way or the other, there is the implication that the Chariot is 
stationary, as it is shown in the Waite, Crowley and Marseilles cards, an 
imagery supported by Case, who says that the number of the card, seven, is 
traditionally related to rest. This is a mystery, for while the Chariot moves 
continuously through the planes, it is at rest. 

Of course, the fact that this card is a clear reference to Ezekiel does not 
mean that it is indisputably related to Merkabah thought. Ezekiel was a very 
popular figure in the west during the apparent period of the invention of Tarot, 
as the art attests. Yet if we are to suppose that the originators of the Tarot had 
even the slightest knowledge of Qabalah and Jewish metaphysics, we must 
assume that they were familiar with its oldest expression, Merkabah, and would 
not have used an image of a chariot casually. The intention here is not to 
attempt to answer this question, only to acknowledge that it exists and that it is 
one which may cut to the very core in defining what is modem and what is 
ancient in the system of Tarot. 

Eliphas L6vi, who is something of a bridge between ancient and modem 
esotericism, made an interesting contribution in his design for THE CHARIOT 

212 The Qabalistic Tarot 

card. This was never a part of a L6vi deck, although Oswald Wirth incorporated 
most of Levi’s ideas into his Tarot of 1889. 

In the Ritual of Transcendental Magic, L6vi wrote of THE CHARIOT: 

A CUBIC CHARIOT, with four pillars and an azure and starry 
drapery. In this chariot, between the four pillars, a victor crowned 
with a circle adorned with three radiant golden pentagrams. Upon 
his breast are three superimposed squares, on his shoulders the 
URIN and THUMMIM of the sovereign sacrificer, represented by 
two crescents of the moon in Gedulah [Chesed] and Geburah; in his 
hand is a sceptre surmounted by a globe, square and triangle: his 
attitude is proud and tranquil. A double sphinx or two sphinxes 
joined at the haunches are hamassed to the chariot; they are 
pulling in opposite directions, but are looking the same way. They 
are respectively black and white. On the square which forms the 
fore part of the chariot is the indian lingham surrounded by the 
flying sphere of the Egyptians. 203 

Waite followed L6vi closely, his only iconographic contribution being 
the addition of a river behind the chariot (reference to the Waters flowing from 
THE HIGH PRIESTESS and to the water sign, Cancer). He has also added a 
city which we may interpret to mean the “Heavenly Jerusalem,” or the “City of 
God” above the Abyss. Thus THE CHARIOT is shown as intermediary. It is 
both the above and the below ; it is perfect control on more than one plane of 
existence, while at the same time it protects the sanctity of the “Throne” by 
maintaining the necessary separation of those planes which it affects. 

The relationship of Chariot to Throne is amplified by our knowledge 
that the angels of Binah are called ( Aralim ), Thrones, while those 

of Chokmah are called Q’331N ( Auphanim ), Wheels. This is consistent 
with the idea of Binah as representative of all three Supemals, Binah, 
Chokmah and Kether. This is important insofar as the Throne is actually 
Kether (it is not of Kether, it is Kether). 

There is no way in which these relationships can become comprehen- 
sible except through meditation, and the student should not feel discouraged if 
the words seem difficult. The really important point here is the relationship of 
the Divine Spirit to that which in some way contains It. The meaning of the 
Hebrew letter Cheth, attributed to the eighteenth Path, is fence or enclosure. 
The Chariot is a wheeled enclosure which holds the Spirit in its “movement” 
through all Planes. Two principles can be derived here: 1) First is the very idea 
that an enclosure is necessary, something external to the Self which carries that 
Self through various levels of the manifest Universe. 2) The idea that the vehicle 
serves a protective function, as the Book of Tokens says of Cheth: 

I am the hedge of protection 
Enclosing the field of existence. 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 213 

In this field thou dwellest. 

And I am thy defense 

Against the darkness which is without. 

Yet is this hedge of safety 
Also a wall of limitation, 

And the darkness against which it defendeth thee 
is the radiant Darkness of the Limitless Light, 
too brilliant for thine eyes. 204 

In interpreting this passage, Case refers to the Ain Soph “which is to us 
a darkness, because it transcends our earthly vision.” He also relates this to the 
idea that “Osiris is a black God,” 205 meaning that Osiris (a sacrificed God) was 
resurrected and then arose above the Light to a Darkness which is at the very 
pinnacle of the Supreme Spiritual Self in Kether. This experience of the 
Spiritual Self, pictured in THE CHARIOT, has also been described as the 
“Exaltation” of Alchemy, where the Alchemist becomes the Philosopher’s 

Of the four versions of the card, Crowley’s most strongly emphasizes the 
relationship of THE CHARIOT to the text of Ezekiel, with its “living creatures.” 
His card expands on the dual Sphinxes proposed by L6vi, whereas the Golden 
Dawn follows the earlier design of the Marseilles deck in which the Chariot is 
drawn by two horses. 

Crowley states that he was much influenced by Levi’s card design, and 
since he also claimed to be Levi’s reincarnation, he may have wanted to 
emphasize the development of “his” earlier work. He has, thus, taken Levi’s 
dual Sphinxes and turned them into the Four Kerubiim, each of which has four 
sub-elements, as in the Tattvas. This is consistent with the biblical text which 
describes each of the Four Creatures as having four faces. Moreover, we have 
previously made the connection of the Sphinx with the Pentagram, which 
represents the Four Elements crowned by Spirit. The Pentagram, which 
represents the Four Elements crowned by Spirit. The Pentagram, as a five- 
pointed figure, is appropriate to Geburah, the lower end of this Path. Geburah is 
also symbolized in Crowley’s card by the red wheels, meaning that its energy is 
the motive power of the Chariot.The complement of Gebruah, Chesed, is implicit 
here in the various uses of the Four. Chesed- Jupiter is important on this Path 
because it is the beginning of manifestation, in Microprospus, of the Four 
Elements which are the symbolic “support” for the heavens. In the cards of both 
Crowley and Waite, the Binah -canopy is supported by four pillars which are the 
Elements, and which are the mrp . These are also the four columns of the 
Tree of Life in a Solid Sphere (Plate II). 

Above the golden armored figure in Crowley’s card is a crab, symbol of 
the sign Cancer. Almost imperceptibly woven into the canopy, in a fine gold 
line, is the word “ABRACADABRA,” an apparent pun on “ABRAHADABRA,” 
a word which Crowley called “one of the most important Key numbers of the 
Liber Al . . . the word of the Aeon. . . the cypher of the Great Work.” The value of 

214 The Qabalistic Tarot 

this word corresponds to that of Cheth (IT> n) ; n =8, i =10, n =400, adding to 


One significant idea found in the Crowley and Golden Dawn cards is the 
implication of something martial, not unlike the Bhagavad Gita, where the 
pursuit of enlightenment is symbolized by warring factions which we under- 
stand to be within the seeker himself. Here, on the highest Path of the Pillar of 
Severity, the soul warrior of Geburah has reached a pinnacle. Crowley shows 
him with ten stars on his armor (representing Assiah-Matter) and seated in a 
position of sublime meditation. In his hands he holds the Holy Graal, a cup into 
which we look directly. 

For their card, the Golden Dawn chose to represent Odin, God of war, 
usually shown riding through the sky. The attribute of Odin is appropriate 
insofar as he was also a god of spiritual development who, like THE CHARIOT, 
has been related to both the above and the below. 207 

The primary emphasis of the Golden Dawn card is on the control of the 
dualities in manifestation by the Supreme Spiritual Self. Here the black and 
white horses are commensurate with L6vi’s black and white Sphinxes, as well 
as with the black and white columns of the mysteries called Joachim and Boaz 
in the “Temple of Solomon.” Between the two horses is an Eagle’s head, the 
Kerubic symbol for Water. The Chariot itself is blue to suggest Chesed. The 
orange of the warrior’s robe refers to Hod, the intellect. Thus, we are pointed 
toward THE MAGICIAN, the Path to which Mercury is attributed. Waite also 
referred to Hod by using an eight-pointed star on the crown of the Charioteer, 
personification of the Spiritual Self. 

As was mentioned, the movement of THE CHARIOT conceals a mystery 
of great significance. In the Golden Dawn card it clearly descends from the sky, 
symbolizing the descent of the Holy Spirit into manifest creation (“the influx of 
good things upon created beings”). This is a much more simple iconography 
that is found in the cards of Crowley or Waite, and is reminiscent of the Chariot 
of the Sun. In Greek Mythology the Chariot of Helios, the Sun, moved daily 
across the sky pulled by four horses. The relationship of the Sun to THE 
CHARIOT card is of critical importance because the Chariot moves between the 
Light, centered in Tiphareth and the Supreme Darkness at the hidden side of 
Kether. In Waite’s card this Chariot is a stone cube referring to the physical 
Universe, as well as to the Cube of Space, which Gareth Knight has called a 
construct within Tiphareth. This idea is amplified by Case’s suggestion that 
while the Throne is Kether, the place of the Throne is Tiphareth. 208 

But another complexity must be introduced. Despite the fact that THE 
CHARIOT is related to the Sun, it is guided by the Moon! And, from the 
standpoint of the Tree of Life, and of the earliest Greek mythology, the Sun is 
subordinate to the Moon. The Chariot follows this order, for it is the sign 
Cancer, ruled by the Moon (and in which Jupiter is exalted). On the Tree of Life 
the Path leading from Tiphareth to Kether is the cardinal Path of the Moon and 
of Water, THE HIGH PRIESTESS. What takes precedence here is the Water 
(Pure consciousness) that the Moon represents. It may also be mentioned that in 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 215 

the symbolic pantheon of metals, silver at one time also took precedence over 

It was not until the period of Greek history when the Apollo myth began 
to take over from that of Helios as the Sun God, even coming to be represented 
as driving the Chariot of the Sun across the sky each day, that the Sun began to 
be considered of greater importance than the Moon . 209 

All of these symbols are, of course, deeply involved with the history of 
religions and with anthropology, which assigns occasionally contradictory 
meanings to a given symbol. The corrective is that the Tarot Keys represent 
truly universal archetypes, truths which remain immutable despite the limita- 
tions of the attempts to describe them. 


The Lovers 

The Sixth Key 

□ PATH COLOR- Orange 


□ SIGN: Gemini (Mutable Air) 

□ MEANING: Sword or Armor 


dren of the Voice; The Oracle of 
the Mighty Gods 

THIRTY-TWO PATHS OF WISDOM: The Seventeenth Path is 
the Disposing Intelligence, which provides Faith to the Righ- 
teous, and they are clothed with the Holy Spirit by it, and it is 
called the Foundation of Excellence in the state of higher things. 

216 The Qabalistie Tarot 

The Path of Zain, THE LOVERS, between Binah and Tiphareth, 
connects the pure consciousness from which form emerged with the central 
point of all manifestation, a complexity which can barely be suggested by the 
image on a Tarot card. It is perhaps for this reason that the design of the card 
has changed over the centuries. In most of the earliest versions, such as the 
Marseilles Tarot, it was called The Lover (singular) and showed a man between 
two women, above whom was a cupid with a posed arrow. Presumably this 
single lover made no sense to later Tarot artists, and in the eighteenth century 
the card began to appear with two “Lovers” and a uniting figure of some sort. 

Yet the early concept of The Lover is very profound,' for this card does 
not represent the mundane love of two persons. It is, rather, the dualities of a 
single individual, wilfully united in pursuit of Divine Love. Crowley’s point that 
the card should really be called “The Brothers” is well taken. In fact, the Key’s 
true meaning is imbedded in its sign of the Zodiac, Gemini, The Twins. The dual 
energies which the Lover proposes to unite are equal and opposite, i.e., “twins.” 
The uniting of these twins is a major step upwards, toward the Godhead on the 
Tree of life. 

The principle is that as Divine Energy surged across the Abyss into 
manifestation, stable dualities were formed. The Great Work is a “marriage” of 
these dualities of manifestation, a return to a primeval state. Thus, this Path 
may be considered the aspect of the Garden of Eden from which mankind was 
expelled, but to which it may earn re-entry by consciously dealing with what 
has been called the inner Sun and Moon. The whole key to the Great Work is the 
uniting of the Sun and the Moon under Mercury (the planet ruling Gemini). 

In relating this symbolism to the Path of THE LOVERS, Case 
performed a fascinating exercise in Gematria. He took the Hebrew title of the 
Path from the Thirty-Two Paths of Wisdom, and broke it down into its 
component parts. The Path of Zain, is called the Disposing Intelligence, 
2m M (ha-regesh), from which the following is derived: ( n means the ),~) is the 
Sun, A is the Moon, and t) is Fire. So 2mt \ means the Sun + Moon + Fire. 210 
On the Tarot card, the Sun is the man, the Moon is the woman, and the Divine 
Fire above the Abyss is represented by the Angel or Cupid. 

In explanation of this, Case states that the Sun is self-consciousness, 
while the Moon is subconsciousness. These are both aspects of the one Life- 
Breath, each working through half of the body. And “When the Solar and Lunar 
currents of the Life-Power are rightly perceived, rightly discriminated, and 
when their operation is kept in proper order, the personality of the man engaged 
in this practice becomes a free, unobstructed channel for the outpouring of the 
cosmic life force.” 211 

Case was discussing not the Waite deck, but his own BOTA version, a 
“correction” of the earlier deck which changed the symbolism little, but 
improved the drawing quality and eliminated the personified Minor Cards. 
Thus, one would expect explanations of the cards by Waite and Case to be 
similar, even despite Waite’s apparent caution about what he put into 
print. Such similarities, however, are few and where Case considered this card 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 217 

one of dualities unified by the Spiritual Self, Waite merely emphasized its 
relationship to the Garden of Eden. He referred to Adam and Eve and to the 
Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, hut made no mention of Spiritual Alchemy 
in this card which he called “love before it is contaminated by gross material 
desire,” adding that “in a very high sense, the card is a mystery of the Covenant 
and the Sabbath .” 212 One might well suggest that such comments, drawn from 
his Pictorial Key to the Tarot are so cryptic as to be almost useless to the serious 
student. The intention here is not to deprecate Waite, who must be respected for 
maintaining his oaths of secrecy, but to point out the extent to which there are 
two explanations to every card, an exoteric one and an esoteric one. 

In all versions of this Key, no matter how it may be described or how 
different the design, the esoteric meaning is the same. They all mean the union 
of manifest opposites under the Divine Love of the Supernals through Binah. It 
is, as Waite stresses, the Garden of Eden, but it is the Garden from which the 
soul itself is expelled in manifestation and to which it may return. The same 
message is in Crowley’s card, which shows the theme of union as an Alchemical 
“Marriage” of the component parts of the seeker. The Golden Dawn also 
represents this spiritual union, but with an important difference. The seeker 
works actively for this to come about: the Higher Self descends to release the 
Personality from bondage, recalling the idea, encountered with THE HANGED 
MAN that while the Personality believes itself to be the pursuer, it is actually 
the pursued. 

The legend of Perseus and Andromeda, used to make this point, contains 
some fascinating implications for the interpretation of the card. In the myth, 
Andromeda was the daughter of the King of the Ethiopians and Cassiopeia, 
who boasted that she was more beautiful than the Nereids (daughters of the Sea 
God, Nereus). In anger the Nereids complained to Poseidon, who flooded the 
land and then sent a terrible monster to inhabit it. The only way that this 
monster could be vanquished was for the king’s daughter, Andromeda, to be 
sacrificed to it, and she was thus tied to a rock on the shore. 

Perseus, however, who had just successfully taken the head of Medusa, 
saw her and fell in love. He wanted to marry Andromeda, which the father 
insisted was only possible if the monster were slain. So Perseus killed the 
monster, but Andromeda’s uncle, nevertheless, tried to prevent the marriage by 
sending attackers against the hero. Perseus, in turn, displayed the frightful 
head of Medusa, and turned his adversaries to stone after which he and 
Andromeda lived more or less happily ever after. 

However, in one ancient interpretation of the story, Perseus, Andro- 
meda, her father, mother and the monster were brought into the sky where they 
became constellations of the same names . 213 In Qabalistic terms, this could be 
taken to mean that the actions of Perseus (i.e., the Spiritual Self) resulted in the 
return of all participants to the sky, i.e., the Godhead. And while that 
explanation may seem a bit strained, such mythologies were part of the general 
culture at the time of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and were often 
interpreted in esoteric terms. 

218 The Qabalistic Tarot 

The stress of the Golden Dawn card is on the extent to which the process 
of this Path is a very active one, for the self-control and will (Mercury) which 
directs the movement and integration of the opposites is not passive as the other 
cards tend to suggest Perseus here has the same fiery, dynamic and inspira- 
tional qualities ascribed to the Serpent. 

Another indicator of activity on this Path is the attribution of the Sword 
to Zain. This is an instrument of active division and separation; it is a sword of 
perception which cuts to the core of things, and defines clearly. And insofar as 
such perception is attributed to Zain, to it is also attached the sense of 
smell, thus implying not only the most direct, but also the most subtle of 
awareness and response. 

While the sword is rarely found in this Tarot Key, it is very common in 
Alchemical representations of the same theme as, for example in the “Eleventh 
Key” of Basilius Valentinus, the seventeenth century alchemist. In his 
illustration are two female twins, each mounted on a lion and holding a figure of 
the Sun and of the Moon. Behind them is a man in armor (another meaning of 
Zain) and holding a sword. The caption reads: “The twins Sun and Moon are 
united by the conjunction which seems to be death .” 214 So we understand that 
the consummation of this marriage requires a “death.” Indeed, to successfully 
pursue this Path across the Abyss means the death even of one’s own Higher 
Self. It is a willful and total self-destruction and immersion into the Divine. The 
separation and re-integration of the dual components of the manifest Self 
demands subordination of the Ego to the One Divine Principle. The Sword 
destroys utterly those who will travel across the Abyss. Thus is the Path called 
the Disposing Intelligence; it is an experience which is the completion of the 
process begun on the Path of Samekh, TEMPERANCE. Taken together, 
TEMPERANCE and THE LOVERS are the Alchemical formula of Solve et 
Coagula. The Sword separates out (dissolves), an activity which we have 
previously shown to mean analysis. This is followed by a synthesis, or re- 
integration in a new way. Therefore, Solve et Coagula. 

It can actually be quite intriguing to see how all of the complicated 
symbols of Alchemy, Lions, Eagles, Glutens, Suns, Moons, etc., reduce to some 
very basic psychological concepts. But here, again, we appreciate that such 
descriptive terms did not exist until the present day, and we are forced to 
interpret the codes of the early Qabalists, of Mathers, of Waite, and even of 
Crowley. And in THE LOVERS, this requisite decipherment of language is 
especially difficult. 

Crowley, in fact, stated that THE LOVERS and TEMPERANCE were 
the most difficult cards of the Tarot, which is certainly true. The Path of 
TEMPERANCE requires a complete integration of the Personality in its 
subordination to the Ego in Tiphareth. The Path of THE LOVERS requires a 
complete integration of the totality of the self manifest in Microprosopus, for the 
return of the Soul to the aspect of the “Garden” from which it emerged. In more 
basic terms, TEMPERANCE is the balance of the Lower Self, THE LOVERS is 
the balance of the Higher. 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 219 

By comparison with the Waite and Golden Dawn cards, Crowley’s 
LOVERS is intellectually superior. Certainly no version of THE LOVERS has 
ever been more daringly explicit in revealing the secret of the Path. 

What is shown here is the “Royal Marriage,” of opposites, presided over 
by the hooded figure who is at once the Hermit and the personification of 
Mercury. Above are the figures of Eve and Lilith, with Cupid aiming an arrow 
symbolizing the Will. The marriage takes place between the Black King and the 
White Queen. He wears a gold crown, bears a lance, and is attended by the Red 
Lion. His black child, interchanged with the White Queen’s child, holds the base 
of the King’s lance in one hand and a club in the other. She is attended by the 
White Eagle and her white child, who carries flowers in one hand and supports 
the base of the Grail in the other. In the lower section of the card is the Winged 
Orphic Egg, the very essence of life itself, which is the product of this union. 

Perhaps the most curious assertion made by Crowley about this card (for 
which he gives no basis whatsoever) is that in some original form it presented 
the story of creation. He claims that at the center of the card was Cain, shown 
having just slain Abel. This is described at some length in The Equinox . 216 

While a reference to bloodshed may seem out of place in a card of 
marriage, we are told that the shedding of the blood of the brother is the very 
key to THE LOVERS: “The shedding of blood is necessary, for God did not hear 
the children of Eden until the blood was shed .” 217 Crowley elaborates on this 
idea in a footnote, wherein he explains that the bloody sacrifice is not 
necessarily black magic. He says: “One should assume into one’s own being, 
ceremonially, the whole karma of the creature slain .” 218 But the process is not to 
be viewed as a unique and singular experience, for Crowley tells us that the 
“integration of the card can only be regained by repeated marriages, identifica- 
tions and some form of Hermaphroditism .” 219 

So the process is one which is both reciprocal and repeated over and over 
again. First one “brother” dies and is absorbed into the other. Then there is a 
return to a balance of opposites after which the second brother is killed and 
absorbed into the first. The process is defined by the infinity sign of Mercury- 
Magician, since The Sun and Moon unite under Mercury. 

Insofar as the marriage occurs repeatedly, the use of the number twelve 
in both the Waite and Golden Dawn cards is highly significant. In Waite’s card 
the Tree of Life behind the male figure holds twelve flames; in the Golden Dawn 
card there are twelve points on the Star of Perseus’ shield. The twelve in both 
cases refer to the Zodiac and the perfection of each of the types of incarnation. 
Theoretically, return to the Godhead requires that we incarnate repeatedly and 
perfect each of these types in turn. 

As a marriage of the King and Queen under a floating Cupid, THE 
LOVERS relates to the Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosencreutz, written at 
the beginning of the seventeenth century . 220 This is a work which, like the Fama 
Fraternitas is one of the key documents of Hermetic-Qabalism. And, unlike so 
many alchemical texts, the Chemical Wedding is immensely readable, having 
the charming qualities of a fairy tale. Yet is remains one of the most profound 

220 The Qabalistic Tarot 

pieces of esoteric symbolism ever written. Those who read the text, and meditate 
on it, will gain exceptional insights into both THE LOVERS and TEMPER- 
ANCE. One such insight relates to the suggestion that blood is spilled on this 
Path. There are, in fact, a number of “events” at the Chemical Wedding which 
reinforce this idea. 


The Hierophant 

The Fifth Key 

□ PATH COLOR: Red-Orange 


□ SIGN: Taurus (Fixed Earth) 

□ MEANING: Nail or Hook 


of the Eternal. 

THIRTY-TWO PATHS OF WISDOM: The Sixteenth Path is the 
Triumphal or Eternal Intelligence, so called because it is the 
pleasure of the Glory, beyond which is no other Glory like to it, 
and it is called also the Paradise prepared for the Righteous. 

The Path of THE HIEROPHANT, Vau, leads from Chesed to Chokmah 
and is the uppermost Path on the Pillar of Mercy. It is described in the Golden 
Dawn documents as “The Zodiac acting through Taurus upon Jupiter,” which 
may sound simplistic, but which is very accurate. This is the action of 
Chokmah, as the spermatic potential of the manifest universe, upon the first 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 221 

manifestation. Chokmah is the Supernal Father as Chesed is the Father in 
manifestation. Chokmah is Yod of Macroprosopus; Chesed is the Yod of 

Thus is the Path of Vau a powerfully masculine one to which Taurus, the 
Bull, is applied. It is Fixed Earth in the Zodiac, meaning that it is a stable 
foundation. And here, our earlier definition of this Path as a “stabilizing 
extreme” is particularly useful. 

THE HIEROPHANT is the opposite Path of THE CHARIOT, the 
vehicle (stabilizing active extreme/ Cardinal Water) by which the Soul is carried 
across the Abyss. THE HIEROPHANT is the celestial road on which THE 
CHARIOT rides; it is the absolute foundation of the process of revelation; it is a 
rock-solid base of experience between the Supreme Spiritual Self and the Ego of 
Tiphareth, of which memory is one aspect. 

The idea that THE HIEROPHANT relates to memory may be consider- 
ed in light of the meaning of the word Vau, which means nail or hook. A nail 
binds together, it unifies, suggesting that a primary function of THE HIERO- 
PHANT is to link Microprosopus with Macroprosopus, i.e., the Great Universe 
with manifestation. It is the Triumphal or Eternal Intelligence by which all that 
we are is forever tied to the Divine Spirit. This binding consciousness is 
described in a variety of symbolic ways, such as: It links the Sun and the Moon, 
or it ties together the Above and the Below. It is also related to teaching, that 
which introduces higher ideas into the lower organism. Expressing it another 
way, it can be said that the intelligent energy which binds the pure inner spirit 
to the outer aspects of manifestation is also the source for our understanding of 
that inner spirit. It is the only source. THE HIEROPHANT is the only teacher. 
He is, as the esoteric title of the card states, “The Magus of the Eternal.” 

In many versions of this Key, the seated figure is shown as the Pope. The 
imagery was explained by A.E. Waite with the suggestion that this is “a 
particular application of the more general office that he symbolizes. He is the 
ruling power of external religion, as the High Priestess is the prevailing genius 
of the esoteric, withdrawn power .” 221 Paul Case emphatically disagreed with 
this, saying that “On the contrary, he is the Pontifex, the ‘bridge-maker’ who 
provides a connecting link between outer experience and interior illumina- 
tion .” 222 

But, as we shall presently consider, Waite touches on some very 
important concepts in this card, which he called the “summa totius theologiae, 
when it passed into the utmost rigidity of expression .” 223 

Relative to the traditional use of the Catholic Pontiff in Tarot, it should 
be appreciated that until very recently western esotericism was inextricably 
bound to Christianity. At the period when the cards emerged, metaphysics was 
merely a way of looking at the given faith, which was above question as a 
system. There were no viable alternatives. Thus, the great esotericists were 
either Catholic priests, or those who sought the approbation of the Catholic 
hierarchy for their research. By example, one can cite the correspondence of 
Henry Cornelius Agrippa with the great Humanist Abbot, John Trithemius. 
The abbot, himself an avid student of these matters and a Hebrew scholar , 224 

222 The Qabalistic Tarot 

warmly responded to receipt of Agrippa’s Of Occult Philosophy: “With how 
much pleasure I receive it no mortal tongue can express nor the pen of any 
write .” 225 Neither the Prelate nor the younger occult philosopher were con- 
demned for their work, because it was actually carried out within the confines of 
accepted Catholic doctrine . 226 

Thus, for the originators of the cards to have used the image of their 
Pope to represent the mysteries of the energies of the Path of Vau, the Supreme 
Teacher, was reasonable. This image is problematical only to those attempting 
to separate the Hermetic Qahalah from the Medieval Christianity in which it 
was unquestionably nurtured. 

To the fifteenth century metaphysician this was not only the Pope as 
administrator of the inner pathways, but it was the Pope as the teacher 
speaking ex cathedra (from the Throne). In Catholic doctrine, when the Pope 
speaks ex cathedra, his word is infallible. And when the leader of the faith 
speaks infallibly, all must listen. Thus to Vau the Sepher Yetzirah attributes 
hearing. The act of listening is shown in the Waite card by the two figures 
kneeling before the Pope. We should take them to mean the opposite aspects of 
ourselves in the human condition, united in their listening attention to the 
Universal Teacher. These two figures are the Sun and Moon currents of the 
body, reason and intuition, consciousnes and sub-consciousness, etc. These 
qualities are anthromorphized as priests, i.e., participants at the altar rather 
than spectators. The implication is that both are an integral and inseparable 
part of the process of enlightenment, and that their obedience has been pledged 
to the principle represented by THE HIEROPHANT. 

Waite’s Hierophant blesses from his position between the two columns 
of the Mysteries. At his feet are the crossed keys of Heaven (Gold, Sun) and Hell 
(Silver, Moon). This latter is so attributed because one of the Moon goddesses 
rules the underworld. In his hand is the Papal Cross, what has been called the 
“Triple Cross of the Western peoples .” 227 

Not surprisingly, the Golden Dawn and Crowley cards have both moved 
away from the figure as Pope. The Golden Dawn figure retains the three-tiered 
Papal crown, but as a symbol of the Supemals. The emphasis is placed on the 
role of the Hierophant as shepherd and teacher of the Law. Crowley, whose 
early training left him with intensely anti-Christian feelings has produced a 
Hierophant reminiscent of one of the Titans, the primeval deities of the Greeks. 
His main stress was on what we have called the “grounding” of the Key, for his 
Kerubiim at the comers of the card are the tentative expression of the 
primordial Elements of Kether which pass down to Chokmah as the Sphere of 
the Zodiac. And while we think of the Zodiac as twelve, it is in reality four 
triplicities. Each Element is broken down into three signs, Qabalistically 
related to the Yod, Heh and Vau. 

THE HIEROPHANT is the administrator of the duality which emerges 
with Chokmah, is structured by Binah, and which begins as mainfestation 
below the Abyss in Chesed. It is thus related to Tiphareth, the central point of 
manifestation. Tiphareth is suggested in two ways here. The first is by the Vau 

The Major Arcana on ihe Tree of Life 223 

itself, the third letter of the Tetragrammaton, and the Son. The second is the 
number attributed to Vau, six, which is also that of Tiphareth. 

A more obtuse reference to Tiphareth is Crowley’s use of the five- 
pointed star on the breast of the Hierophant. As the primordial Elements evolve 
downward, they do so under the control of the fifth Element, Spirit. The 
principle of the Pentagram holds even in Kether, where the Primordial 
Elements are held in perfect unexpressed unity by a fifth which, at that exalted 
level, is the Ain Soph. This perfect Unity is expressed by the Swastica in motion, 
the central point of which is commensurate with the uppermost point of the 

What Crowley has done in placing the Pentagram so prominently here is 
to affirm the uniting of the Above and the Below, a process in which the 
symbolic Moon always plays a key part. For the Moon is found both above and 
below the Sun on the Tree of Life. It is Yesod, and it is THE HIGH PRIESTESS. 
Here both are implied, for the Moon is exalted in Taurus. 

The fact that Taurus is ruled by Venus refers us to THE EMPRESS, the 
Path of Daleth which is the mean between Chokmah and Binah, just as Vau is 
the product of the Yod and Heh. THE EMPRESS is “Mother Nature,” the 
fertilized Universal Conciousness which is at the root of THE HIEROPHANT’S 
teaching. In this regard it should be observed that THE HIEROPHANT is on 
the “feeling” (Venus-Netzach) side of the Tree of Life. We learn its lessons 
through intuition, as we learn the lessons of its opposite, THE CHARIOT, 
through intellect. On this Path intuition is applied to concepts collected by 
reason and built up by memory. 

Pursuant to the idea of Venus-EMPRESS behind Earth-HIEROPHANT, 
there is a very interesting interplay of symbols: & , the sign meaning Earth 
becomes <j> , the sign of Venus, when it is reversed. Also the sign of Taurus itself, is 
a uniting of the symbols of Sim (©) and Moon ( ]) ), D + © = y . And, as we have 
seen in the other cards, the uniting of the Sun and the Moon always refers to the 
Garden of Eden. Vau is what the Thirty-Two Paths of Wisdom calls the “Paradise 
Prepared for the Righteous.” THE HIEROPHANT is the Earthy aspect of the 
Garden as THE CHARIOT is Watery, THE LOVERS is Airy and THE 
EMPEROR Fiery. What we have explained as the grounding or the earthiness of 
the Garden is the “Law” expounded by the Hierophant. The Golden Dawn 
card shows this as a scroll (the same scroll of the Law which is held by THE 
HIGH PRIESTESS in the Waite deck). 

The scroll holds the “Word” which one hears through THE HIERO- 
PHANT, and which is also the Logos. For the Word is creation, and to 
understand the created Universe is to hear the Word. This is the essential 
meaning of the Golden Dawn and Waite cards. 

Crowley’s card, which is considered one of the most important of the 
Tarot, contains many traditional elements, but adds some symbolism which is 
entirely personal to Crowley’s philosophy. He explains the image of a child 
within the Pentagram within a larger Hexagram: “This symbolizes the law of 
the new Aeon of the Child Horus, which has supplanted that Aeon of the ‘Dying 

224 The Qabalistic Tarot 

God’ which governed the world for two thousand years.” And elsewhere he 
adds . .for the rhythm of the Hierophant is such that he moves at intervals of 
2,000 years.” 228 

The Hierophant sits on a Bull between two elephants, holding a wand 
with three interlocking rings. These rings symbolize the Aeons of Isis, Osiris 
and Horus (The Child in the Pentagram is Horus). Beneath is the “Scarlet 
Woman.” Above is what Crowley called an “oriel,” meaning a window 
(referring to Heh, THE EMPEROR) built out from a wall on brackets, in this 
case nine Nails (Vaus). The symbolism means the linking of the Above and the 
Below: The window is the passageway for Light (manifest Spirit) between 
Macroprosopus and Microprosopus. 

In the Golden Dawn card the figure holds a Crook, one of the symbols of 
Chesed suggestive of J upiterian benevolence. But Crowley warns that the card 
is not necessarily benevolent, affirming an idea in the Book of Tokens that Vau 
(the Fifth Key) is the severe root of Geburah. 229 Crowley takes this one step 
farther “Though the face of the Hierophant appears benignant and smiling, 
and the child himself seems glad with wanton innocence, it is hard to deny that 
the expression of the initiator is something mysterious, even sinister. He seems 
to be enjoying a secret joke at somebody’s expense. There is a distinctly sadistic 
aspect to this card. . .” 230 Crowley insists that this is quite natural as the Key 
relates to the original Bull legend, that of Pasiphae. In that Greek myth 
Pasiphae falls in love with a sacred white bull, the union of which produces the 
Minotaur. This is, however, a very questionable interpretation. On the other 
hand, it is agreed by most authorities that there are some very unpleasant 
aspects to this key, having to do with its position intermediate between the 
Above and the Below. 

This issue and its implications are very cleverly related to Gnosticism by 
Richard Cavendish in his work. The Tarot: 

Taken in descending order, the trumps from the Juggler to the 
Pope recall the gnostic accounts of the creation of the Universe. It 
was believed that in the beginning the One became Two by 
thinking, so that there was a Mind and a Thought. The Juggler can 
be equated with the divine Mind, the Female Pope with the 
Thought in its original purity, and the Empress as the Thought 
after it has become impregnated by the Mind to become the mother 
of all the lower powers. Among those lower powers was the De- 
murge or Cosmocrater, the maker of the visible world. . .Gnostics 
frequently identified the Demiurge with the God of the Old 
Testament. He was regarded as an evil power, the maker and ruler 
of matter and flesh in which the divine spark of spirit is held 
prisoner. . . The Pope also has some sinister undertones. Gnostics 
maintained that the evil Demiurge invented conventional religion 
and morality to keep men enslaved to him by inducing them to 
worship him and obey his laws. 231 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 225 

The Demiurge, the Lesser Creator who rules over manifestation, was the 
great deceiver. Thus the initiate of the Valentinian Gnostic mysteries was 
taught to ignore the authority of this creator , 232 whom Mead described as 
“hanging from Spirit at the very boundary of the phenomenal universe .” 233 It 
appears, in any event, that Cavandish is quite correct in his assertion that the 
negative qualities ascribed by tradition to this card have their roots in 

The implications of Gnostic thought are, in regard to Tarot, both 
complex and exciting. One who has studied the Qabalah at some length may be 
surprised to find the same concepts expressed in the language of early 
Christianity. As one authority expressed the question: “Is Gnosticism Christian 
Qabalism? Except for the name of Jesus we are in a completely Jewish world. 
These are the mysteries of the Zohar and of the Hasidim .” 234 


The Emperor 

The Fourth Key 

□ PATH COLOR- Scarlet 


□ SIGN: Aries (Cardinal Fire) 

□ MEANING: Window 


□ ESOTERIC TITLE: Sun of the 
Morning, Chief Among the 

THIRTY-TWO PATHS OF WISDOM: The Fifteenth Path is the 
Constituting Intelligence, so called because it constitutes the 
substance of creation in pure darkness, and men have spoken of 

226 The Qabalistic Tarot 

these contemplations; it is that darkness spoken of in Scripture, 

Job xxxviii.9. “and thick darkness a swaddling band for it.” 

The higher we rise on the Tree of Life, the more obvious it becomes that 
the Tarot trumps only point the way toward concepts which the mind cannot 
otherwise grasp. Until the present day this was a great deal more difficult 
because the language of psychology did not exist. Our terms such as 
“conscious,” “sub-conscious” and “unconscious” are extremely useful tools 
because they conceptualize something inordinately fluid. Thus, in our present 
state of development, we easily deal with shades of consciousness within 
ourselves. We are coming closer and closer to an ability to deal with 
formlessness, pure consciousness. This is the promise of the so-called Age of 
Aquarius, although it is rarely stated in such terms. The student who begins to 
understand the next five Tarot Trumps (THE EMPEROR, THE EMPRESS, 
a long step into that new age. 

To this end it must be emphatically restated that the entire Tarot deck 
reflects the Universe which is made up of permutations of The One. From the 
One emerges opposites which are activating the formative, male and female. It 
is accurate to say that all male and female figures in the Tarot are Chokmah 
(Jah) and Binah (YHVH Elohim) wearing the robes of different planes, actually 
levels of vibratory rate, of the Universe. 

THE FOOL is the One God Energy. THE MAGICIAN and THE HIGH 
PRIESTESS are the first differentiation into masculine and feminine within the 
Macrocosm and the Microcosm. These are the personal, subjective energies of 
the Macrocosm and the Microcosm. These are the personal, subjective energies 
of the Paths, as opposed to the objective, Universal energies of the Sephiroth. 

The Qabalistic theory is that THE MAGICIAN is the consort of THE 
HIGH PRIESTESS. Considered psychologically, we know that THE MAGI- 
CIAN stands for the Will, while THE HIGH PRIESTESS, the “Root of Water,” 
is the Pure Unconscious. So to describe THE MAGICIAN as the mate of THE 
HIGH PRIESTESS refers to the activity of the directing Will of the One on the 
Great Ocean of undifferentiated consciousness which It has Itself projected. In 
the Qabalah we are always dealing with reflexive qualities; God creates 
thought, then mind to hold that thought. Everything has to do with the 
perception and activity of The Divine Spirit on Itself, a process which various 
systems of symbols attempt to suggest. As was described in considering the 
WHEEL OF FORTUNE, the Alchemists spoke of the Divine Self-interaction in 
terms of Sulphur, Salt and Mercury. These same terms may be applied to the 
upper-level cards of the Tarot. THE MAGICIAN is Mercury, THE EMPRESS is 
Salt and THE EMPEROR is Sulphur. Crowley has gone so far as to position his 
Emperor so that the body forms a triangle and cross, symbol of the Alchemical 
Sulphur A . 

THE MAGICIAN (Philosophic Mercury) acts upon THE HIGH PRIES- 
TESS (Pure Consciousness) and they are, by their union, transformed into THE 
EMPEROR and THE EMPRESS, Sulphur and Salt. Of course, all of this may 
seem little more than an obscure abstraction, a bending of words almost for 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 227 

their own sake. But when we consider these principles as aspects of our own 
consciousness, they are quite basic. 

When we close our eyes and allow free-form images to float by us. Taking 
whatever direction they will, we are tapping into the life energy “ruled” by THE 
EMPRESS. When we begin to think about what is happening before our eyes, 
classifying the images according to color, subject, or any other criterion, we are 
calling THE EMPEROR into play. We are acting upon form. 

This is another of those cards where Paul Case brought exceptional 
insight to bear, as he explained why THE EMPEROR is on the Path below THE 
EMPRESS. He says: “Because she is the manifesting power which brings forms 
into being he has something to rule. . . The Magician, who appears now as the 
Emperor, would have nothing to control or transform did not subconsciousness 
send up from its depths a stream of images to be classified by the exercise of 
reason .” 235 

It should be obvious that there is a certain crossover of the Yod and Heh 
energies. THE EMPRESS is the balance between Chokmah and Binah. She is 
the growth which comes from the interaction of the male and female, as in the 
fertilized cell. She is pure fruition. THE EMPEROR, on the other hand, while a 
potent masculine energy, is Heh on the Paths, meaning that its function is 
determined by Binah. This is a formative Path, its activities are rational and 
classifying, as is underscored by its bright red color, that of Binah in the World 
of Pure Spirit, Atziluth. The lower we go on the Tree of Life, the more the male 
and female energies are interwoven. And, by this reasoning, one might assume 
that the only “pure” male and female in the Universe are at the level of 
Chokmah and Bi nah , which is unfortunately not the case. 

Having come to the level of the Supernal Paths, it is necessary to 
introduce an idea which may be perceived as destructive to the entire tower of 
male and female principles so neatly established to this point. Let us state the 
problem abruptly: 

Chokmah ( naan , Wisdom), meaning the primary quality of maleness, 
is a female noun. And, if we are willing to accept the assertions of Gematria, the 
idea that sages of the past have buried truths in the interaction of numbers 
applied to each letter, or that each letter is itself a holy symbol, can we believe 
that the very gender of the title is insignificant here? Obviously not. However, 
the gender of the Hebrew noun for Wisdom is rarely mentioned by writers on the 
Qabalah, because it appears to be an irreconcilable problem of language. 

But let us here take the point of view that whatever “gives birth” is 
exercising a primary female quality at the moment of birth. Adam is the first 
(symbolic) male, but insofar as his rib became the first female, he conceived and 
gave birth, thus performing a female function. The female was inherent in the 
male. What we are describing is not exactly androgeny, or even bi-sexuality, 
since it is a real transformation of the function of a given energy. Within all that 
is male there is female, and within all that is female there is male. In Jungian 
terms, the male harbors the perfect female image in his unconscious, as the 
female harbors the perfect male image in her unconscious. These are images of 
the self as opposite gender, the “contrasexual component.” This is what Jung 

228 The Qabalistic Tarot 

called the Anima (Female) in males and the Animus (Male) in females. These 
idealized qualities are personified as the Magna Mater, the Great Mother who is 
Binah and as the Wise Old Man, a personification of spiritual principle who is 
Chokmah . 236 On the Paths, THE EMPRESS is Anima and THE EMPEROR is 
Animus. In Latin Anima means soul, while Animus means spirit; the very 
concept of soul represents the enclosure, or definition of boundaries of spirit, the 
Heh creating boundaries around the spiritual Yod. Thus the perfectly developed 
male type on the Paths is THE EMPEROR, and the perfectly developed female 
type is THE EMPRESS. These are the pure energies with which we meet and 
actually converse on the Paths. 

Whatever terms may be used to describe THE EMPEROR, he remains 
the bridge between The Father (Chokmah) and The Son (Tiphareth). And the 
very fact that the Sun of Tiphareth is exalted in the sign of this Path, Aries, 
indicates that THE EMPEROR exercises some control of the Solar energy of the 
Higher Self. Thus the Path of Heh is called the Constituting Intelligence, 
meaning that it assists in the building up of the Light of Tiphareth from the 
utter darkness of the Supernal Triangle, as rational genetic structure directs the 
rising of the plant from the intense darkness of the Earth. 

The importance of Tiphareth to THE EMPEROR is indicated by 
Crowley in his use of a Sun behind the Emperor’s head, and in the overall two- 
color scheme. The card has been painted in Martian reds and Sun-yellows, 
warm colors suggesting a furious rush of activity which may be short-lived. 
There are also martial overtones, although it is only in Waite’s card, with its 
armored figure, that this is emphasized, which is somewhat surprising 
considering the Golden Dawn text: “the General. . . the Conquerer, hot 
passionate, impetuous.” The Golden Dawn card itself shows a ruler who, while 
he has absolute dominion, as is symbolized by the Orb and Cross in his left 
hand, is not a warrior. He is precise and firm, applying a mathematically 
measured reason to all things, but he does not wield a sword. The Sword is 
carried not on this Path of the fiery aspect of the Garden of Eden, but on its airy 
counterpart, THE LOVERS. And while the driver of THE CHARIOT of the 
water aspect is Odin, God of War, he is not shown at battle. In fact, the greatest 
sub-surface belligerence is with the earthy part of the Garden, THE 

It may now be suggested that these four cards, when considered in terms 
of a fifth, THE HIGH PRIESTESS, constitute a practical formula for the 
crossing of the Abyss. They are the means of attaining the Garden of Eden, 
which is the amalgam of multiple states of energy. 

Pursuant to the Garden theme, it must again be noted that Crowley 
proposes an interchange of THE EMPEROR with THE STAR , 237 which we 
believe to be a mistake. In dealing with THE STAR, we describe THE 
EMPEROR as the “Fiery aspect of the Garden of Eden,” to which the Higher 
Self relates, while THE STAR is the Eden of the Personality. In both cases these 
are states where the general has just become specific, a pristine point where the 
consciousness can look both forward and backward. Thus is sight attributed to 
Heh. This is the self-observation of the One. It is the first Path to which a 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 229 

sensory function is attributed in the Sepher Yetzirah, suggesting that sight is 
the first of the senses as Aries is the first in the sequence of the Zodiac. And as 
the first sign, THE EMPEROR, Aries, emerges directly from Chokmah The 
Sphere of the Zodiac. That THE EMPEROR is based in the Chokmah energy is 
symbolized by the grey stone throne on which he sits in the Golden Dawn and 
Waite cards. 

The Constituting Intelligence is understood as the first phase of a 
natural cycle. It stimulates the development of natural structures, as “Aries 
brings forth the Spring.” The Golden Dawn card symbolizes this by the Aries- 
Ram wand, the wielding of the Aries energy by THE EMPEROR, and by the 
Ram beneath his feet. 

In this one would expect the Emperor to be represented as a dynamic 
and masculine figure at the very peak of his abilities. Both the Golden Dawn 
and Crowley cards have taken this approach. Waite, on the other hand, followed 
by Case in the BOTA version, represents the Emperor as the traditional 
“Ancient of Days,” the One who is older than time itself, the Supernal Father. 
Here there is disagreement as to whether the figure should be shown full-face or 
in profile, the profile tradition having been accepted by the Marseilles deck 
which shows the Emperor seated facing the viewer’s left. Crowley adopted the 
same symbolism apparently agreeing that it is impossible for one to know the 
totality of the Emperor while in this earthly existence. On the other hand, the 
“Ancient Bearded King seen in profile” is symbolic of Kether and its 
relationship to the Ain Soph, not Chokmah. Presumably this explains the 
decision of Mathers and Waite to show the Emperor’s full-face. 

Most of the symbols on these cards are traditional: The Veil of the Abyss 
behind the Golden Dawn Emperor, Waite’s Ankh Cross or the one symbol on 
which all four cards agree, The Orb of Dominion. Crowley, however, has made 
some obscure symbolic references. The Bee and the Fleur de Lys, for example, 
are described by him as related to the generalization of the paternal power . 238 
Another obscure symbol is the eagle on the Emperor’s shield. The Marseilles 
card also uses an eagle, though it is merely a reference to imperial power. But 
Crowley’s eagle is two-headed, with a crimson disk behind. He explains that 
this is the Alchemist’s red tincture related to the Sun and to Gold. A similar 
white eagle on his EMPRESS card refers to the Moon and to Silver. 

One final aspect of Crowley’s card is symbolically problematical. At 
least his explanation of it seems unsatisfactory. We refer to the lamb at the 
lower right of the card, of which he says: “At his feet, couchant, is the Lamb and 
Flag, to confirm this attribution on a lower plane; for the ram, by nature, is a 
wild and courageous animal, lonely in lonely places, whereas when tamed and 
made to lie down in green pastures, nothing is left but the docile, cowardly, 
gregarious and succulent beast. This is the theory of government .” 239 One may 
be delighted by Crowley’s wit, but somewhat puzzled by his use of an accepted 
symbol of the resurrected Christ to mean something “docile, cowardly, 
gregarious” and even “succulent.” It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that this 
is another of Crowley’s attacks on traditional Christianity, although the image 
is certainly inspired by the Golden Dawn ram. 

230 The Qabalistic Tarot 


The Empress 

The Third Key 

□ PATH COLOR: Emerald Green 


□ PLANET: Venus 

□ MEANING: Door 


ter of the Mighty Ones. 

THIRTY-TWO PATHS OF WISDOM: The Fourteenth Path is 
the Illuminating Intelligence, and is so called because it is that 
Brilliant One which is the founder of the concealed and funda- 
mental ideas of holiness and of their stages of preparation. 

The Path of THE EMPRESS connects Binah and Chokmah. As such, it 
is the mediating Path of the Supreme Spiritual Self. It is the Path of unity of the 
Father and Mother, the Path on which their interaction occurs. In this regard, 
THE EMPRESS is called the “Daughter of the Mighty Ones.” 

As Chokmah has the potential to emanate the pure “female,” so Binah 
has the potential for the creation of all life forms. Thus the Waite deck and 
others show the Empress pregnant, in a state of incubation and passivity which 
is the result of the merging of the energies of Chokmah and Binah. THE 
EMPRESS is the universal womb in which all manifestation is gestated. It is a 
transitional state of energy between the Above and Below which has been called 
the “Gate of Heaven.” 

Daleth means door. It is a door which effects a transition from One into 
many. In fact, the key to this card is multiplicity. While the robe of THE HIGH 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 231 

PRIESTESS is ideally represented as simple and diaphanous, that of THE 
EMPRESS is appropriately covered with all the jewels of creation. 

Of course, in this and in the three cards remaining, words are strictly 
metaphorical. In fact, at the level of the Supernal Triangle, the Tarot pictures 
themselves unconsciously communicate a great deal more about the forces 
involved than could any words. Yet even there we may be painfully aware of the 
inadequacies of our anthropomorphic symbolism in attempting to present a 
concept of pure fruition. To this end one might offer an analogy having to do 
with Netzach, the most dense level of the Venus energy. As an exercise, the 
student should try to conceive of pure emotion, that is feeling which has no 
subject and no object, which is neither love nor hate, but which is the raw 
material of both. That may convey something of THE EMPRESS who is the 
Great Mother of ideas, Mother Nature. 

Almost every culture has some form of Earth Mother, or Mother of the 
Gods. And in almost every case, this maternal Goddess gives birth to an 
intermediate deity which directly rules the earth, such as Christ. Not infre- 
quently, also, God the Son appears through a “virgin birth,” although as Frazer 
observes, the idea of a miraculous birth probably comes down from a period 
when man had not yet recognized that children are the result of sexual 
activity . 240 Thus, the Virgin Mary, the Christian version of God the Mother, 
may be related to the Empress after she is pregnant or has given birth to Christ. 
Before this, she is the High Priestess. 

It is important to bear in mind that the Great Mother is inextricably 
linked with Earth, for in incarnation we function only in terms of Earth. All 
that is natural to the formation of life on earth is the province of THE 
EMPRESS. She builds life forms around the Spirit of Life, establishing laws of 
the Universe, having to do with formalization and restriction. 

But beyond the idea of law, or formalization, which we have repeatedly 
stressed in terms of the Supernal female energy, there is another idea which 
must be stressed, that of love. THE EMPRESS who establishes the laws of 
Macroprosopus, and gives birth to Microprosopus, is also Venus-Aphrodite, 
Goddess of Love. 

In the Thirty-Two Paths of Wisdom Daleth is called the Luminous 
Intelligence, as the Path of Chokmah is called the Illuminating Intelligence. 
The implication is that the brilliance of Chokmah illuminates all things as it 
passes through the doorway which is THE EMPRESS. “Luminous” has the 
meaning of being filled with Light, as well as emitting Light. Yet in this context 
it will be appreciated that Light, per se, is referred to manifestation below the 
Abyss. The illuminating qualities of Chokmah are the potential for the Light 
which is emanated by Binah, and which is Microprosopus, the Lesser 
Countenance. THE EMPRESS may aptly be called the Mother of Light. To pass 
through her on the Path of return is to enter the Supreme Darkness. One may 
pass through a door in either direction, which is one of the points to the card. 

The dualities of the EMPRESS-doorway relate particularly to the 
Roman God Janus, always shown with two faces going in opposite directions. 

232 The Qabalistic Tarot 

Janus was the God of doorways (janua means door) who presided over 
communications (the passage of ideas) and who controlled the affairs of men. 
He was considered the God of Gods, Janus Pater who, like THE EMPRESS, 
oversaw creation. Ovid described him as chaos, within which life was latent. 241 
Originally, Janus was also a Solar deity, another parellel with THE EMPRESS, 
who is the Mother of the Sun. In fact, almost everything that can be said about 
Janus can be said about THE EMPRESS, despite the fact that the primary God 
form related to this Path is Venus- Aphrodite. 

In Greek mythology Aphrodite rose naked from the foam of the sea, 
riding a scallop shell. Wherever she stepped onto the land, flowers grew. 242 
Thus, THE EMPRESS can be described in terms of luxurious proliferation, each 
facet of nature being so compelling, so beautiful, if not hypnotic, that it is 
possible to lose sight of the overview of the Path. As Crowley warns: “. . . the 
student who is dazzled by any given manifestation may be led astray. In no 
other card is it so necessary to disregard the parts and to concentrate upon the 
whole.” 243 

While Aphrodite is usually called “Goddess of Love,” she is also known 
as the “Goddess of Desire,” 244 a title with special implications for students of the 
mysteries. Netzach is often called the center of desire, for to feel is to desire. But 
there is also a practical lesson in that desire is born with the most abstract 
principle of form. It is often stated in eastern literature that to lose all desire, i.e., 
to want nothing is to become truly one with the Universe. The coming to, or 
leaving of, desire, is one aspect of the doorway which is Daleth. 

The symbol of Venus encompasses all of the Sephiroth on the Tree of 
Life (see Figure 17), another indication that the idea of love is the formative 
energy of the Universe. Here one should also consider the fact that the lower 
appearance of Venus is in a Sephira, and is thus objective. Netzach is a part of 
the Astral Triangle of Personality. But when the Venus energy appears in the 
highest realm of the Tree of Life, is it on a Path, i.e., it is subjective. 

Three planetary forces find their objective expression as Sephira low 
(meaning density) on the Tree of Life, while their subjective expression, as 
Paths, are found at the opposite extreme. These are Hod-Mercury, THE 
MAGICIAN; Yesod-Moon, THE HIGH PRIESTESS; and Netzach-Venus, THE 
EMPRESS. Thus, the entire Astral Triangle of Sephiroth is expressed subjec- 
tively in relationship to the Supernal Triangle. There is a very profound 
mystery imbedded here. 

Turning to the card images, we find that the Golden Dawn EMPRESS 
stresses ruling qualities more than do the Waite and Crowley designs. This is 
somewhat better symbolism than Waite’s luxurious treatment in that it allows 
for the fact that the Empress can destroy as well as create. In the Mathers’ card 
the outer robe is the green of Netzach-Venus, but inside is the dynamic and fiery 
red of Binah in Atziluth. For THE EMPRESS, growth and destruction are 
concurrent activities. In ourselves, for example, cells are constantly being bom 
as old cells die. This is the process of growth, destruction and renewal. Thus 
does THE EMPRESS function in us, the Microcosm. To know the energies of 
this Path of Daleth, the door, is to understand and be able to manipulate the 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 233 

three-fold process. This is a process which reconciles opposites, as is shown by 
the Ankh Cross, a symbol of life combining male and female, held suggestively 
at the womb of the Empress. In the other hand she holds an orb of the Sun, 
meaning that she dominates the Heavens (The Orb and Cross of the Marseilles 
Tarot means domination of the Earth). 

Like THE EMPEROR, The Golden Dawn EMPRESS is seated before a 
veil, meaning that to pass beyond her is to cross into a completely new level of 
consciousness where her laws no longer apply. The veil points to a dramatic 

No such separation is indicated in the Waite card which emphasizes the 
flow of life, THE EMPRESS in her phase of munificent fruition. She is Mother 
Earth and Mother Venus, carrying the planetary sign on her dress and on her 
shield. The heart shape of the latter is a rather trite way of showing that she is 
the Goddess of Love. Her pearls and the Cypress trees in the background are 
also sacred to Venus, while the foreground wheat refers to the figure as Isis. On 
her head is a crown of twelve stars, the same Zodiac found on THE FOOL. It is 
the crown of the Illuminating Intelligence (Chokmah/Sphere of the Zodiac). She 
is also intended to be understood as the woman of Revelation who is “Clothed 
with the Sun.” 

The real key to this card is the stream of crystalline pure water flowing 
downward at the right. This is the water from which Aphrodite is born, what is 
“activated,” i.e., churned into foam, by the “will” of THE MAGICIAN. This is a 
continuous process whereby the pristine consciousness of THE HIGH PRIES- 
TESS gives rise to the unconscious thought-patterns of THE EMPRESS. In the 
microcosm this means creative imagination, our own ability to create mental 
forms, to structure concepts. In the macrocosm this means the same structur- 
ing, but of the “pictures,” which are general to the human race, rather 
than specific to the individual. In THE EMPRESS are thought forms which 
become more dense as they are expressed into manifestation, and are 
administred by the Sun-center of Tiphareth. 

There is an important practical parallel here. God creates the Universe 
(continuously) by thought. We do the same thing. We create a reality by 
imagining it, by thinking it into being. All that we create in our minds becomes. 
This is one of the basic precepts of the Mysteries which is all too often 
misunderstood or approached with ridicule. At any event, as one grows in 
spiritual power, the implications of responsibility for what one thinks, are very 

In his card Crowley shows THE EMPRESS as representative of 
alchemical Salt, the inactive principle which is energized by alchemical Sulphur 
to “maintain the whirling equilibrium of the Universe .” 245 Here the figure is 
designed in the shape of the alchemical symbol, a circle with a line bisecting it 
horizontally. The twisted blue shapes represent flames, and her birth from 
water. She holds a chalice-like lotus, a living form of the Holy Grail. At her 
waist is the Zodiac; above her head are the birds of Venus, sparrow and dove; at 
her feet are the Pelikan who feeds her young with her own flesh (a common 
Christian symbolism of some interest in that the Great Mother gives birth to 

234 The Qabalistic Tarot 

God the Son, who is self-sacrificed) and a shield with the alchemical white eagle 
corresponding to the red eagle of THE EMPEROR. 

To reiterate Crowley’s alchemical references: THE MAGICIAN is 
Mercury, THE EMPRESS is Salt and THE EMPEROR is Sulphur. These 
attributions should be considered in terms of the attribution of the same 
symbols in the Golden Dawn documents. There Kether is Mercury, Chokmah is 
Salt, and Binah is Sulphur . 246 


The High Priestess 

The Second Key 



□ PLANET: Moon 

□ MEANING: Camel 


cess of the Silver Star. 

THIRTY-TWO PATHS OF WISDOM: The Thirteenth Path is 
named the Uniting Intelligence, and is so called because it is 
itself the Essence of Glory. It is the Consumation of the Truth of 
individual spiritual things. 

Having just considered the Path of THE EMPRESS, one of warm 
enclosure (a literal return to the cosmic womb) and of maternal protection, the 
Path of THE HIGH PRIESTESS may be somewhat disconcerting. It is as if the 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 235 

Supreme Mother has removed her smiling mask, to reveal her true face, which is 
cold and expressionless, though beautiful. All of the Material help of THE 
EMPRESS has vanished. There are no more illusions. We must face the 
crystalline reality of our own absolute free will, the most difficult task of the 
Mysteries related to the crossing of the Abyss. 

The Paths of Gimel (THE HIGH PRIESTESS), Samekh (TEMPER- 
ANCE) and Tau (THE UNIVERSE) may be considered aspects of the same 
energy which together make up the devotional Middle Pillar. This is suggested 
by the Path colors in Atziluth, which are indigo (deepest blue) and blue which is 
the color of Water and of the Moon. These three Paths all relate to the Moon. 

Gareth Knight describes the Path of Tau as the “Gateway to the inner 
planes,” and those of Samekh and Gimel as “Dark Nights of the Soul.” 247 The 
term “Dark Night,” coined by the sixteenth century monk, St. John of the Cross, 
means the desolation and terror that is felt as one is in the middle of the Path 
towards truth, but has not reached the end. This is particularly applicable to the 
Path of THE HIGH PRIESTESS, which traverses the frightening desert- Abyss. 

But there is the implication that we may be borne across this desert by 
the forces of the Path itself, for Gimel means Camel. It is a beast which may 
carry us on the Path which is at once the longest and the most important on the 
Tree of Life. 248 The Path is the first to come from the Supernal Triangle 
(potential) to the Ethical Triangle (the “actual”). Moreover, its very position on 
the Tree, between God the Father in Kether and God the Son in Tiphareth, 
shows it to confer the very highest initiation. 

This initiation is through that virgin essence which has been called the 
“lower Chokmah.” There are correspondences between the Path and the 
Sephira, which can be established by Gematria: The names Gimel ( ) and 

Chokmah ( nnDfi ) both add to 73. But, more important, is the idea that 
Wisdom is alternately expressed as masculine or feminine. The word is feminine 
in most languages, though applied in Chokmah to the quality of primary 
maleness. To say that THE HIGH PRIESTESS is the lower Chokmah is to say 
that as the One expands outward, the seed of expansion contains the means of 
its own limitation. Then, as Crowley put it: “This first and most spiritual 
manifestation of the fe mini ne takes to itself a masculine correlative, by 
formulating in itself any geometrical point from which to contemplate 
possibility.” 249 The concept is an impossibly difficult one, and here, more than 
in other cards, we are faced with the fact that the terms most descriptive of these 
principles may seem totally nonsensical. The common description of the key is 
more approachable, that being THE HIGH PRIESTESS as the most pure 
essence of consciousness, symbolized in the Tarot as the very source of all 

The source of Water is the idea behind the idea behind form. Case 
amplified this concept in saying that: “. . .no matter how many forms develop 
from it, the virgin substance is itself unchanged. Like water, which holds matter 
in suspension or solution, this substance remains over itself. Here is one key to 
the alchemical mystery of the First Matter. Here, too, one may find a clue to the 
inner significance of the Virgin myths of all religions.” 250 

236 The Qabalistic Tarot 

Almost every writer on Tarot has found such keys to keys in THE HIGH 
PRIESTESS. She is often, in fact, described as the “Inner Mysteries” or 
esotericism as opposed to THE HIEROPHANT who is sometimes identified 
with exoteric religion. But THE HIGH PRIESTESS must be studied in terms of 
THE MAGICIAN, in that she carries out what he initiates. This interaction can 
be discussed in a number of terms. She can be called the Root Matter and he the 
First Matter (Prima Materia), or she can be considered the result of his self- 
consciousness. However it may be symbolized, THE MAGICIAN symbolizes a 
condition prior to unconscious “thought.” This condition acts upon THE HIGH 
PRIESTESS in such a way that the Gimel Path becomes the “mind” capable of 
carrying the thought forms of which the Universe will eventually be composed. 
She is the source of the vibratory patterns of the Universe which underly 
everything. Thus, the Crowley card shows a figure composed of waves of 
energy, under which are the mental forms affected by those waves. Moreover, 
nothing can grow in the garden of THE EMPRESS without this underlying 
structure of energies. 

The Wisdom of THE HIGH PRIESTESS is in regulation. Her fluctua- 
ting rates of vibration establish the direction (sets the pattern) for the First 
Matter ( Prima Materia= Philosophic Mercury=MAGICIAN) as it “descends” 
toward a condition of greater density. It is for this reason that the Moon is 
attributed to this Path. The vibratory pattern, the waxing and waning, and all 
of its other attributes, are here found at the most pure source. The Moon 
represents fluctuations, dualities, tides. It is the Moon which controls the tides 
of the waters of consciousness. 

The Moon is cold, harboring neither good nor bad. Its potent currents, as 
the meaning of the double letter Gimel, war-peace, suggests, may be problem- 
solving or causing. But no matter what the result of the activity of THE HIGH 
PRIESTESS, she herself remains unchanged, incorruptible, ever virgin. She is 
moreover, the vessel for all the operations of the Supernal Triangle; it is within 
her that the activity of Mercury, Sulphur and Salt takes place. She is the 
Uniting Intelligence, an activity which is also related to the Four Elements. 

We have shown how four Paths rising into the Supernal Triangle each 
represent a different Element, and have suggested that each is an aspect of the 
“Garden of Eden.” THE HIGH PRIESTESS, again, is the Uniting Spirit, that 
fifth element which is symbolized by the uppermost section of the Pentagram. 
To reiterate: HIEROPHANT=Earth, LOVERS=Air, CHARIOT=Water, EM- 
PEROR=Fire and THE HIGH PRIESTESS=Spirit. She is at once the source 
and uniting regulator over the four other Paths. She is also the source of the 
Four Rivers of Paradise: The Pison (River of Fire), The Gihon (River of Water), 
The Hiddikel (River of Air) and The Phrath (River of Earth). 

The idea of THE HIGH PRIESTESS as pure vessel is commensurate 
with the retentive qualities of the Camel, an animal which stores water for a 
long desert trip. This suggests another type of retention, memory. Within THE 
HIGH PRIESTESS are, in fact, concealed the memories of the race as well as 
those of the Cosmos. Her veil suggests this concealment. In the Golden Dawn 
card it is draped around her, covering her eyes so that it is impossible to look 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 237 

directly into her face. The Waite card uses a hanging cloth behind the figure, 
which has the same meaning. But the Crowley HIGH PRIESTESS seems veiled 
with Light itself. He calls her the “Soul of Light” in the sense that it is Light 
which conceals the True Spirit. This is the Spirit which we have called a “Fiery 
Darkness,” and which is the substance of the Supernal Potential. This is THE 
HIGH PRIESTESS, in any version of the card, understood to be clothed in 
Light. This is the Light before the Abyss above Tiphareth. It is a Light so 
brilliant that none may look upon it who have not become of the same nature. 

What is required here is a re-thinking of the essence of Light. All 
religions stressing Light are based on a Tiphareth Sun-God. These include 
Christ, Buddha, Apollo, Osiris, Ahurda-Mazda, etc. What is important is that, 
unlike organized religion, the Mysteries teach that Light does not reveal ; it 
conceals by its very brilliance. 

The Path of THE HIGH PRIESTESS, like the Moon itself, goes from the 
most brilliant light to the most intense darkness. Thus, the principles of the 
Moon and its deities, Diana-Artemis and Hecate, apply. Of course, one can 
choose from numerous variations on the same theme, appreciating that 
mythology grew out of social needs to a large extent. Thus, we find that Hecate, 
as described by Hesiod, was the original triple-goddess ruling heaven and earth. 
Later periods concentrated on her more unpleasant aspects as Goddess of the 
underworld, and the darker aspects of magic. She remained, nonetheless, 
associated with the Moon as Hecate-Selene, the “Far shooting Moon,” an aspect 
of Artemis. 251 

Artemis, in one legend the sister of Apollo and daughter of Zeus, was the 
bringer of fight and the eternal virgin. 252 And as we find that THE HIGH 
PRIESTESS is called the “Princess of the Silver Star,” we are also told that 
Artemis was known as the “Maiden of the Silver Bow.” This suggests 
tEMPERANCE, the lower extension of THE HIGH PRIESTESS, which is 
Sagittarius, the Archer. Its arrow may fly heavenward, or deeply into the Earth. 

Artemis was also the triple Moon Goddess. First she was the maiden, 
then the (orgiastic) Nymph, then the old crone. 253 She was all the phases of 
woman at once. These aspects of the Moon are symbolized by the crown of the 
High Priestess in Waite’s card: the full Moon is shown at the center, with the 
waxing and waning moon represented at either side. 

One might well wonder how it is possible for Artemis to be at once 
eternal virgin and orgiastic Nymph, but that is the whole mystery of THE 
HIGH PRIESTESS. It is rather like the play Camino Real, by Tennessee 
Williams. Every month, by the light of a full moon, an old gypsy woman turns 
her prostitute daughter back into a virgin, which is, as she says, quite a trick. 

The idea of THE HIGH PRIESTESS as the Uniting Intelligence, the 
reconciler of opposites, is represented by Waite as the two pillars, black and 
white, from the supposed Temple of Solomon. They symbolize the union of all 
polarities on this Path, of which the card number is 2. This is the number of 
reflection and duplication. And as we called upon the infinity symbol of Waite’s 
MAGICIAN in discussing the Path of Samekh (TEMPERANCE), that figure 
also applies here on the upper extention of Samekh, the Path of Gimel. To 

238 The Qabalistic Tarot 

restate our thesis: THE HIGH PRIESTESS acts on the First Matter of THE 
MAGICIAN and causes it to function in the pattern of the figure eight on its 
side. One cycle is opposed and duplicated, though the flow of energy is totally 
unified. The energy of THE MAGICIAN is held in a reciprocal, alternating, 
pattern by that which is called THE HIGH PRIESTESS. This holding, 
enclosing and duplicating function is the first female quality on the Tree. 

In more contemporary terms, THE HIGH PRIESTESS is what Jung 
called the “virgin anima ,” 254 related to the “vrigin’s milk,” which he called the 
“Life giving power of the unconscious.” The virgin’s milk, which is alchemical 
symbolism is fed to the “Stone” as mother’s milk is fed to a baby, is synonymous 
with the Water of THE HIGH PRIESTESS. 

The Golden Dawn and Waite cards both suggest the dispersal of this 
Water from THE HIGH PRIESTESS. In the Golden Dawn version, the figure 
stands upon a Moon above waves ; in the Waite version, the robe of THE HIGH 
PRIESTESS seems to turn into water at its base. Crowley’s card is more 
technical than the others in that it represents a very complicated set of wave 
forms. More than the others, his design captures the quality of the Path. 
Crowley states, in fact, that his card is “very peculiarly a glyph of the work of 
the A.A .” 255 In his BOTA course, Tarot Fundamentals, Case also attaches broad 
meaning to the card, which he explains as a summation of the seven Hermetic 
Principles of the Kybalion (discussed in our introduction ). 256 

Case’s BOTA card, a modification of Waite’s HIGH PRIESTESS, is less 
evocative than that of the Golden Dawn or Crowley. On the other hand, Waite’s 
symbolism is extremely precise. THE HIGH PRIESTESS is shown as the 
unifying agent between the two columns of the Temple; unification and balance 
being also represented by the cross on her breast, which Waite called a Solar 
Cross . 257 Behind her is the veil of the Temple, covered with palms and 
pomegranates. Waite was not very explicit about the reason for this choice of 
plant forms, although Case says (rather unconvincingly) that the Palms are 
male, while the Pomegranates are female . 258 Waite’s comments, however 
incomplete, suggest another explanation. He says of THE HIGH PRIESTESS: 
“. . .she is really the Secret Church, the House which is of God and man .” 259 This 
implies that she represents all the inner tenets of religion. One might, therefore, 
suggest that the palm is a traditional Christian symbol representing the 
“triumph” of Christ on his entry into Jerusalem. The Pomegranate, on the other 
hand, is associated with the very ancient mysteries. It occurs frequently in the 
Old Testament, and was given special significance by the Eleusian Myster- 
ies . 260 It is therefore likely that Waite intended to convey the idea that THE 
HIGH PRIESTESS is the central core, the unifying factor in all faiths, 
especially Christianity and Judaism. 

Other aspects of the Waite card are more certain, for example, the scroll 
on which appear the letters T O R A. This is the Scroll of the Law established by 
THE HIGH PRIESTESS. It is also intended to refer to a common, though 
simplistic, manipulation of the letters into TARO and into ROTA, the latin 
word for wheel. This means that the Tarot is the Law as well as the very Wheel 
of Life. In this regard, it is seen that in the Golden Dawn deck the Scroll of the 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 239 

Law is held by THE HIEROPHANT, who administers that which is proposed 
by Binah. A scroll in the hands of THE HIGH PRIESTESS does, however, point 
out that she is the repository of cosmic memory. 

The Marseilles card is the least interesting of the four, with one 
exception, which is its very title, The Female Pope. The card is said to represent 
Pope Joan, described by Stephen de Bourbon in his thirteenth century work. As 
the story goes, a ninth century English girl fell in love with a monk. In order 
that they could live together, she dressed herself as a man. After the monk’s 
death, she went to Rome and, retaining male dress, became a priest. Supposedly, 
she moved up through the ranks of the Church, became a Cardinal, and was 
finally elected Pope John VIII. She died on the steps of Saint Peter’s giving 
birth . 261 The story is mythical, but is important because it was widely believed 
during the period when the Tarot cards appeared. 

The Magician 

The First Key 

□ PATH COLOR: Yellow 


□ PLANET: Mercury 

□ MEANING: House 


of Power. 

THIRTY-TWO PATHS OF WISDOM: The Twelfth Path is the 
Intelligence of Transparency because it is that species of 
Magnificence called Chazchazit, which is named the place 
whence issues the vision of those seeing in apparitions (That is 
the prophesies by seers in a vision). 

240 The Qabalistic Tarot 

The Path of Beth is between Kether and Binah. It is the transition 
between the One Pure Source of All, energy undefined, and the Great Organizer, 
a relationship described by the meaning of the letter Beth, which is house. It is 
the “dwelling place” of the Spirit descending toward the denseness of 
manifestation. THE MAGICIAN symbolizes that which builds the house, i.e. 
directs and encloses the One Spirit which is symbolized by THE FOOL. In this 
regard it must be appreciated that to consider one card versus another at this 
level of the Tree of Life is very different from a comparison of cards at the lower 
levels. The differences between let us say, THE UNIVERSE and the Path of 
JUDGEMENT are substantial, if not dramatic. But the higher one works up on 
the Tree, the more such differences become extremely fluid and subtle. THE 
FOOL and THE MAGICIAN are separated by only slight degree, a fact not 
obvious in the anthropomorphized symbolism of the cards. 

Scholars dedicated to unraveling the difficult cryptograms of the 
Pentateuch (first five books of the Bible) are quick to point out that Beth is the 
first letter. The Book of Genesis begins “Bereshith,” ( ), commonly 

translated as “In the beginning,” but intriguingly rendered by Fabre d’Olivet as 
“At first, in principle .” 263 That which is symbolized by the letter Beth is the first 
in creation, it is the beginning of the beginning. It is the First Principle, or First 
Matter of the Alchemists, also called the Philosophic Mercury. But to create 
beginning is to create end. Thus the opposites of life and death, key polarities of 
creation, are attributed to the letter. The idea is implicit that without the 
energies of THE MAGICIAN, there would be neither life nor death, neither 
beginning nor end. THE MAGICIAN initiates this process, a cycle symbolized 
by the infinity symbol (lemniscus) as well as the serpent which holds its tail in 
its mouth (Uroboros). Both represent the closed circle of energy in the Universe, 
begun by the number one (Beth) acting upon the zero (Aleph). 

The relationship of Aleph (THE FOOL) and Beth (THE MAGICIAN) to 
creation are discussed in a section of the Zohar which is one of the most 
charming in all of esoteric literature. We are told that for two-thousand years 
God had “contemplated” the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet, and 
had “toyed with them .” 264 And when it came time for Him to create the 
Universe, the letters presented themselves before him in reverse order (Tau to 
Aleph), each asking that they be the first in creation. All were denied until Beth, 
of whom God said: “Assuredly, with thee I will create the world, and thou shalt 
form the beginning of the creation of the world .” 265 God then wondered why 
Aleph had not appeared, and called for the letter, which explained: “Because I 
saw all the other letters leaving Thy presence without any success. What, then, 
could I achieve there? And further, since Thou hast already bestowed on the 
letter Beth this great gift, it is not meet for the Supreme King to take away the 
gift which he has made to his servant and to give it to another.” God’s response 
was: “. . .although I will begin the creation of the world with Beth, thou wilt 
remain the first of the letters. My unity shall not be expressed except through 
thee, on thee shall be based all calculations and operations of the world, and 
unity shall not be expressed save by the letter Aleph .” 266 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 241 

It is fascinating to realize that the greatest mysteries of the Cosmos are 
such that they are well expressed in the simplest, even most childlike of pictures 
and words. Indeed, the relationship between THE FOOL and THE MAGICIAN 
is so subtle and refined that our best hope of even approaching them rests in 
meditation on spiritual text combined with the images of the Tarot cards. It is 
impossible to speak directly of what either the texts or the cards represent. What 
we try to do is to establish a circle of ideas, each idea giving a suggestion about 
the nature of the inner truth. 

One such idea associated with THE MAGICIAN is that the energies of 
this card are at once active and passive. The mystery of THE MAGICIAN is 
that it is both that which transmits and that which is transmitted. It is the Life 
Force (The One) which becomes the Prima Materia in the act of transmission. 

THE MAGICIAN is a channel through which the energy of THE FOOL 
is organized and passes downward. The One Life Energy is directed by THE 
MAGICIAN as the first step in the evolution of the Universe toward matter. 
Thus is the Path called the Transparent Intelligence, for like Light through a 
glass, energy passes through it from above. The process is especially well- 
represented on the Waite card, where the Magician’s right arm is raised with the 
wand pointed downward. This suggests power brought down in a purposeful, 
willful, way. Moreover, Waite makes some very subtle reference to the activity of 
all the Supemals here. The inner color of THE MAGICIAN’S robe is white, 
meaning Kether. The outer robe is the red of Binah in Atziluth, andthe serpent- 
belt is the blue of Chokmah in Atziluth. Waite’s inference is that the Prima 
Materia results from the interaction of all of the Supernal Sephiroth. The God of 
this Path, Mercury, is the “messenger of the Gods” (especially of his Father, 
Zeus-Kether) meaning that he is not himself the Creator, only the bearer of its 

For all practical purposes Mercury (Roman), Hermes (Greek) and Thoth 
(Egyptian) are the same deity, the amalgam of their qualities having become 
particularly firm in modem esoteric literature. Of course, since Mercury is that 
later of the Gods, his attributes depend on those of Hermes and Thoth. 

Hermes was very early associated with words, for the simple reason that 
a messenger must clearly state the cause of the one who sends him . 267 The same 
meaning essentially applies to the association of words with Thoth who, as the 
supposed inventor of hieroglyphs, developed that by which the message could 
be recorded and transmiteed. The companion of Hermes, as discussed in dealing 
with the WHEEL OF FORTUNE, was the dog-headed Ape, the Cynocephalus, 
representing the words themselves, as well as the potential for misunder- 
standing and deceit. It is in this latter sense that Crowley has included the 
cynocephalus at the feet of his Magus. 

The relationship of the Hermes energy to words is very profound. 
Messages are carried by words, but it is also through words of power that the 
Magician affects his will. Thus is word associated with cause and effect. Words 
transmit ideas from person to person in the same way that THE MAGICIAN 
transmits the idea of Self-Creation of the One from above. 

242 The Qabalistic Tarot 

A word is meant to be spoken (writing is the annotation of spoken 
thought); it is a sound which carries idea. It is intelligence-laden vibration. 
Word = vibration. So the idea of THE MAGICIAN is that it is the first vibration 
through which the One Spirit begins the process of manifestation. It encloses 
the Spirit and thus encompasses All that is. 

This idea is conveyed by a diagram, in the Golden Dawn papers, relating 
the Mercury symbol to all of the Sephiroth except Kether (Figure 32A). “The horns 

Figure 32. Two ways of representing that which is encompassed by Mercury: A. The 
Sephiroth on the planetary symbol; B. The Four Worlds on the Caduceus. 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 243 

spring from Daath (Knowledge) which is not, properly speaking, a Sephira, but 
rather a conjunction of Chokmah and Binah.” 268 And of course, since the days 
of L6vi The whole Tarot has been called the Book of Thoth. 

Pursuant to the idea of Mercury encompassing all Sephiroth except 
Kether, there is a very interesting diagram showing Mercury on the caduceus 
(Figure 32B). This is not at all inconsistent with the first symbol, which 
distinguishes between the Creator above, and Creation below. The Four Worlds 
here are not the Wand, they are that which is transmitted by the Wand of THE 

This interpretation of the caduceus and the planetary sign is not 
common. Astrologers and iconographers usually analyze the Mercury symbol 
as half-moon, circle and equal-armed cross. These symbolize the Moon, the Sun 
and the balance of the Four Elements. The Sun and the Moon are the dual states 
of the cosmos, here in their most refined expression. The Four Elements are first 
seen, primordially, in Kether, where they are symbolized by the swirling 
Gammadion or Swastica. These Elements, potential in The FOOL, are first 
differentiated and directed by the MAGICIAN. 

The MAGICIAN directs the forces of the nin* , letters first en- 
countered in the God Name of Binah, tPn^K mrp (YHVH Elohim) at 
the lower end of the Path of Beth. As it is succinctly expressed in the Golden 
Dawn documents, the Primum Mobile (first motion) is acting through the 
Philosophic Mercury on Satum-Binah, which is to say that the Supreme Spirit 
is acting upon the Will to Form. This activity is involved with words, i.e,, 
vibration, and recalls the idea that whosoever can pronounce the will 

be Master of the Universe. In this sense “pronounce” means to willfully direct 
the vibration. So what we have in THE MAGICIAN is the one who is, in fact, 
able to pronounce the Divine Name. This brings us to a very complex idea which 
is the essence of the Mysteries, an idea emphasized by Case in his Book of 
Tokens. There he says that “all created wills are but reflections” of the will of 
THE MAGICIAN. Most important Case points out that the individual must 
allow this Primal will to act through himself: 

My superior nature worketh through thee. . . 

...Happy art thou if thou canst grasp this truth. 

For then, understanding that not thy weak self, 

By my all-knowing Mind, 

Looketh out upon the world through thine eyes, 

Shalt thou have faith to let me see. 

Then shalt thou overcome the evil of thy senses 
by devoting them wholly to my use. 269 

This is an extremely difficult concept, and one which truly represents 
the practical core of all religion, mysticism or magic. However the process may 
be symbolically expressed, the inner direction of the Four Elements by the 
Universal Magician, through us, is primary. Waite’s card, based on the then 
secret Golden Dawn card, was the first to show the Magician with his wand 
raised above the actual Elemental Weapons of modem Hermetic Qabalism. On 

244 The Qabalistic Tarot 

the table are the Wand for Fire ( ■> ), the Cup for Water ( n ), the Dagger for 
Air ( 1 ) and the Pentacle for Earth ( n ); all are very generalized. Only in the 
Golden Dawn version are the implements represented with complete ac- 
curacy. 270 

We have come a long way from the somewhat tentative symbolism of the 
Marseilles deck. In that Tarot deck, the Magician stands at a table manipula- 
ting implements germane to the performer-magician of the middle ages, whose 
stock-in-trade was slight of hand and pleasant deception. Yet the double-ended 
wand and the hat approximating the form of the infinity symbol suggest 
something more, as does the very title of the card, Le Bateleur, meaning the 
bearer of the wand. 

The wand is, in fact, the only attribute of a Magician which has been 
consistently represented from the ancient world to the present. It is that through 
which power flows, and by which power is directed with the force of will. It is at 
least interesting to see that Waite gave his Magician of 1910 the exact same 
wand as that of the Marseilles deck of 1500. Thus did Waite affirm the symbolic 
accuracy of the early instrument. Presumably, variations on THE MAGICIAN 
over the years, represent the contemporary state of the “Magical Art.” 

Judging from magical treatises contemporary with the earliest con- 
ceivable appearance of the cards, there was no great proliferation of magical 
instruments. In a work such as the Heptamaron of Pietro de Albano (1250- 
1317) 271 it is clear that magic was an amplification of the priestly art, depending 
largely on words for its invocations, banishings, and consecrations of talis- 
mans. The impetus toward the instruments we find on the Golden Dawn card 
probably begins in the eighteenth century, as is reflected by Barrett’s Magus of 
1801. 272 

Accepting that each version of THE MAGICIAN represents the point of 
view of an age toward what is called “Magic,” the Crowley card is provocative. 
In that version THE MAGICIAN no longer merely holds the wand, he is the 
wand, a conceptual change of no small dimension. Crowley, thus, has 
accurately represented what we earlier described as the Mystery of the 
Magician, i.e., that it is at once that which transmits and that which is 
transmitted. It is the messenger and the message. 

There is also an important phallic symbolism in this wand of Hermes 
which transmits power. Even in earliest times Hermes, the messenger of the 
Gods, carried a staff. Originally it was decorated with white ribbons, later 
mistaken for serpents (because he was the “Herald of Hades”) and turned into 
what we know today as the Caduceus of Mercury. 273 This is seen on the breast of 
the Golden Dawn Magician. 

Time and Victorianism have softened the phallic implication of Hermes’ 
wand, originally very openly represented as Herms. These were upright slabs of 
stone with a bust and a very large phallus curiously attached to the front of the 
column. So in the ancient world, Hermes was revered as a God of Creation, the 
aspect of THE MAGICIAN which Crowley stresses. 

THE MAGICIAN seems to have been a very difficult card for Lady 
Freida Harris to produce. Early versions show a central figure with multiple 

The Major Arcana- on the Tree of Life 245 

abstract arms, each holding some magical image. The quality of balance is 
emphasized by the caduceus which rises in the center of the figure . 274 But in the 
final version, The Magician, though centered on an abstract caduceus form, is 
in a state of activity. The magicial instruments seem to float through space, as if 
they were in constant motion, continuous creation, something ever changing. 

Crowley says that, in fact: “No true image is possible at all, for, firstly, 
all images are necessarily false as such; and, secondly, the motion being 
perpetual, and its rate that of the limit, c, the rate of Light, any stasis 
contradicts the idea of the card. . .” 275 For Crowley, THE MAGICIAN was the 
Son and the Word, and “being the Word he is the law of reason or of necessity or 
chance, which is the secret meaning of the Word, which is the essence of the 
Word and the condition of its utterance .” 276 

The Fool 

The Zero Key 

□ PATH COLOR: Bright Pale Yel- 




of Aether. 

THIRTY-TWO PATHS OF WISDOM: The Eleventh Path is the 
Scintillating Intelligence, because it is the essence of that curtain 
which is placed close to the order of the disposition, and this is a 
special dignity given to it that it may be able to stand before the 
Face of the Cause of Causes. 

246 The Qabalistic Tarot 

The Path of THE FOOL connects Kether, the Source of All, with 
Chokmah, the first activity toward manifestation. Aleph is assigned to this 
Path, the letter designated symbolic of absolute unity by the Zohar. As a word 
(Aleph) means ox, which has been interpreted in a variety of ways. 
Gareth Knight, for example, suggests that for the most earthy of beasts to be 
applied at this exalted level of the Tree means that “the Spirit’s aim is rooted in 
Earth .” 227 Paul Case essentially agreed, although his approach was more broad. 
He called the ox a symbol of the motive power in agriculture, and equated 
agriculture with civilization. Thus, he described the ox as the life-power, 
creative energy and “the power at work in all forms of human adaptation and 
modification of natural conditions .” 278 Crowley, on the other hand, concentrat- 
ed on the letter’s shape, said to represent a plow-share: “thus,” he says “the 
significance is primarily Phallic .” 279 Cynics may suggest that Crowley saw 
phalluses everywhere he looked, despite the high philosophical tone of his 
argument. Yet it is true that only by reference to sexuality do we come to the 
slightest glimmer of understanding of the Universe. 

THE FOOL demands multi-faceted and fluid interpretation. It is certain- 
ly the most difficult and profound card of the entire Tarot deck. Emanating from 
Kether, it borders on the source of the Cosmos, the Ain Soph, the Limitless Light 
which is not. Thus, we recognize that whatever can be said about Kether can be 
said about the subjective effect of its principles on the eleventh Path. 

The eleventh Path is the Fiery or Scintillating Intelligence. It touches a 
Limitless Light which is darkness to us, that Fiery Darkness which is at once 
the Primum Mobile, the possibility of motion or vibration, and the First 
Perception or Will of the One having the potential for activity. Here, again, we 
return to the circuitous idea that the Primal Creative Energy of the Universe 
acts upon itself to emanate the Cosmos. The most concrete way in which this 
can be described is to say that from nothingness comes the potential for 
thought. Then thought appears and emanates mind, the vessel which contains 
thought. THE FOOL is the initial potential for that thought which transcends 

Almost everyone has had the experience of feeling that they have 
touched some special reality in sleep, a lesson which on waking seemed absurd 
at best. We may recall a few words which, when translated from the sleeping to 
the waking condition appear absolute nonsense. In fact, any idea which is 
disconsonent with our waking reality is usually dismissed. Such ideas may be 
dangerous and disruptive to our perceptions of self and environment, so we put 
them aside. On the other hand, a great deal of the practical Great Work involves 
the assimilation of concepts which contradict our mundane ideas of what is 
“real,” and what is not. 

Let it be clearly understood that THE FOOL, THE MAGICIAN and 
THE HIGH PRIESTESS (Paths touching Kether) must be approached with a 
certain good natured whimsy. As we realize that the experience of Kether means 
the total annihilation of Self as we conceive it, we also see the irony of our 
attempt to grasp such refined principles from an earthly perspective. We are, as 
Dion Fortune once noted, little children attempting to spell God. However, once 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 247 

we recognize the impossibility of approaching the highest levels of the Universe 
directly, we are driven forcibly into the key principle of the Mysteries, As Above , 
so Below. We look into that which is “below” as a mirror reflection of that which 
is “above.” 

Every Key is, in fact, fourfold. And while THE FOOL is usually 
discussed in terms of the Highest Spirit of Atziluth, it also appears in Briah, 
Yetzirah and Assiah. Thus, somewhere in our basest and most comprehensible 
existence, we will find a correlate to the upper activity of THE FOOL. The 
process is a kind of spiritual detective work. We look deeply into Malkuth and 
find Kether! 

This is the essence of what Teillard de Chardin, the great modern 
Catholic mystic, was describing. The Divine Spirit is all that we know: we live 
within it, we breathe it, it is ourselves. Every thing is an expression of the 
energy symbolized by THE FOOL, which is the beginning of all, as Aleph is the 
beginning of the alphabet. 

To Aleph, the first of the maternal letters, is attributed Air which, in this 
sense means the Life-Breath. And while most people believe that the East places 
more importance on the function of breath than does the West, that is only true 
of exoteric religion. In Western esoteric techniques, as in the East, breath is 
everything, both practically and philosophically. In terms of the Tree of Life 
and Tarot, this may be expressed in another way. We described THE 
MAGICIAN as relating to “words,” meaning vibratory patterns underlying 
manifestation. It is the power of breath, however, which expels the sound. THE 

Crowley points out another way in which the attribution of Air may be 
considered. He describes the nothingness which is air as a vacuum, a 
fascinating concept when related to the Tarot number of THE FOOL, zero. The 
zero is a vacuum of fertile nothingness; it is the Universal Egg of Spirit, the Egg 
of Akasha. Mathematically, zero is the sum of plus one (male) minus one 
(female). Thus the egg of the Cosmos is a fertilized ovum of undefined sexuality. 
It is neither male nor female, but is the potential for both. THE FOOL is the 
androgenous energy which differentiates into the dramatis personae of the 
other twenty-one keys. 

Unfortunately, the correct position of THE FOOL at the beginning of 
the Keys, has been the subject of dispute. In some works it has been shown 
placed in the irrational position of next to the last card, i.e., as the card of Shin, 
letter of Maternal Fire. However, this placement appears to have been a 
purposeful attempt to conceal the real mystery of THE FOOL from the profane. 
Today the sequence of Keys described in the Golden Dawn Cipher Manuscripts 
is generally accepted, as it was by the inventors of the three modem decks 
illustrated here. THE FOOL belongs on the eleventh Path of Aleph, and 
nowhere else. 

It has been suggested that the key to the function and order of the 
Cosmos is imbedded in Aleph as it interacts with Lamed. The Zohar, which 
describes Aleph as absolute unity, provides equally interesting material on 
Lamed. That letter is discussed as central to the word (Melekh) 

248 The Qabalistic Tarot 

meaning King. 280 This points to Tiphareth as the central, directing force of 
Microprosopus, the “Lesser Countenance.” This is the King over existence as we 
know it, its interaction of energies being symbolized by the letters Mem, Lamed, 
Caph and by the corresponding Tarot cards, THE HANGED MAN (n), 
JUSTICE ( b ) and the WHEEL OF FORTUNE ( D ). 

Stabilizing Activating and Stabilizing Formative extremes (see Figure 29) on 
the Tree of Life between the Personality and the Higher Self. They are exact 
opposites. THE HANGED MAN is the water of Universal consciousness, while 
the WHEEL OF FORTUNE, Caph-Jupiter, means the very principle of 
manifestation. Thus, Lamed may be said to effect the perfect balance between 
the lower creative principle and the consciousness on which it acts. In this we 
know that Lamed means ox goad, the pointed rod which spurs on the ox, i.e., 

Paul Case offers another explanation. He writes that the word 
“represents the first outflow of spiritual influence ( N ), effecting a continual 
equilibrium of forces in action ( b ) resulting in the positive expression of the 
creative thought ( a ) of the Universal Mind.” 281 

This is all very complicated indeed, and one can all too easily become 
bogged down, if not actually deceived by the over-zealous manipulation of letter 
and number symbols. What is clear, however, is that the sages who produced 
Qabalistic documents such as the Pentateuch and the Zohar expected us to go 
through this process. Thus, we must run the risk of dead-end reasoning in 
attempting to understand the subtle meanings imbedded in the texts. Is it 
stretching a point to suggest that implicit in the letters bn is all that is above 
and below, viewing Aleph as the One, with Lamed as the central balancing 
energy between the One and that which it projects? 

At any event, these are sorts of ideas which, when applied to the Tarot 
images, are likely to provide special insights. When we know the Qabalistic 
implications of the letter Aleph and apply it to the image of THE FOOL, the 
correspondence of picture and ideas triggers something unconscious in us. This 
may be particularly the case with the Golden Dawn FOOL, one of the Order’s 
most unusual contributions to Tarot art. The child is intended to be Harpo- 
crates, which in the Egyptian (Heru-p-khart) literally means “Horus the 
Child.” 282 Heru is also written Hru, known as the “Great Angel of the Tarot.” 

There are a few Gods which incorporate so many diverse ideas as does 
Harpocrates: He is the Child God; he is the God of Silence; he is the God of 
beginnings, he is the God of the Sun at its dawning. He is also the son of Isis 
and Osiris, although it is not yet in that capacity that he is shown on this Path. 
He is their Child yet to be bom. He is all potential! He is the expression of the 
very meaning of the God Name of Kether, il’MN (Eheieh) which is I will be. So 
in the Golden Dawn card, the child is about to pluck the rose. In Waite’s card the 
Fool is about to walk over a cliff. Waite describes his figure as stationary, 
though it indicates the act of walking. 

Because of the importance of Horus-Harpocrates to an understanding of 
THE FOOL in the Golden Dawn tradition, we must briefly consider the origins 

The Major Arcana on the Tree of Life 249 

of his cult. The Child Horus developed from an earlier God, also known as 
Horus. This earlier Horus (actually a group of God forms, as was the Child 
Horus himself) was one of the first Gods to be worshipped generally across 
Egypt. He was represented with the head of a hawk, suggesting that his nature 
related to the greatest heights of the Heavens , 283 an idea which would place 
Horus comfortably on the eleventh Path. But the attributes of the early Horus- 
Gods were assumed in late dynastic times by the Child who represented the 
beginning of all sequences, including the beginning of the day with the Sun. So 
Horus was related to Ra, and is most easily placed in Tiphareth. And once more, 
as in considering the , we find that we are moving between the eleventh 
Path and the sixth Sephira. The correlations are as profound as they are obtuse. 

One other interesting point about Horus is that he was traditionally 
shown as a child with one lock of hair at the side, and a finger on his mouth as 
an infantile gesture. This gesture was misunderstood by the Greeks to be a “sign 
of silence,” and when the God was given the Greek name Harpocrates, silence 
was a key attribute . 284 However such attributions may have happened, whether 
by design or “accident” the symbolism fits remarkably. What could be more 
perfect than THE FOOL as silence prior to THE MAGICIAN who has been 
described as the first sound? Here one must believe that symbol systems can 
evolve in accordance with truly universal archetypes . 285 

THE FOOL is, in fact, an archetype, as is the companion animal 
appearing in every version of the card. The Marseilles deck shows a brown dog 
tearing a hole in his master’s pants leg; Waite represented a small white dog in 
the same essential pose as the Marseilles dog, though following playfully; 
Crowley’s version, with the tiger “fawning about ” 286 The Fool, is the most 
curious. Finally, the Golden Dawn card shows a wolf on a leash being held by 
the small child whom we have equated with Harpocrates. 

All of these cards make a symbolic statement about the relationship of 
the animal nature to the higher spiritual processes. It has also been suggested 
that the small dog is the intellect, man’s faithful companion. The Golden Dawn 
and Crowley cards, however, offer a more complicated explanation. 

The wolf in the Golden Dawn card is perhaps the most explicit in its 
symbolic statement, for from the earliest times the wolf has been considered a 
destroyer. And in the context of the eleventh Path, it is like the Fenris wolf 
which devoured Odin, Father of the Gods, what Manly Palmer Hall calls 
“those mindless powers of nature that overthrew the primitive creation .” 287 

The implication is that the Creator’s will to self expression holds in 
check that counter-energy which would otherwise destroy creation as it 
happened. Yet the wolf must eventually be unleashed, freed back into nature, 
destroying creation and returning it to the state from which it originally 
emerged, i.e., the Ain Soph Aur. 

The child and wolf are the balance of creator-destroyer, and are the first 
statement in the Tarot of the principle that every thing contains its opposite, the 
real key to esoteric studies. The principle is especially important in relation to 
THE FOOL, a card in which Waite says “Many symbols of the Instituted 
Mysteries are summarized .” 288 

250 The Qabalistic Tarot 

Waite’s discussion of the symbolism in his own cards was very cryptic, 
and it fell to Paul Case to explain the symbolic complexities woven into the 
Rider deck. He explains the Wheels of Spirit on the Fool’s robe, the wand as a 
symbol of will, the wallet with an Eye of Horus, the rose meaning freedom from 
lower for ms of desire, and the girdle of twelve ornaments suggesting the 
Zodiac. 289 On the other hand, it is possible that in his enthusiasm, Case may 
describe more than Waite intended. 

It is at least fortunate that Crowley, being a prolific writer, explained his 
own deck in great detail. The discussion of his version of THE FOOL is 
complicated and lengthy, drawing upon a variety of legends. To summarize, 
these are: 

1. The Green Man -the very personification of spring. 

2. The “Great Fool” of the CeZts- this is the inspired madman who is 

also a savior. 

3. The “Rich Fisherman”: Percivale- Crowley calls the Parsifal legend 

“the western form of the tradition of the Fool.” Parsifal repre- 
sents the foolishness of youth and innocence which, through its 
purity, achieves the Holy Grail. 

4. The Crocodile -In ancient Egypt the crocodile symbolized the great- 

est creative energy, for the rather paradoxical reason that it was 
not believed to have the means of perpetuating its own species. 

5. Harpocrates 

6. Zeus Arrhenothelus— a deliberate confusion of masculine and femin- 

ine; the Divine Hermaphrodite. 

7. Dionysus Zagreus. Bacchus Diphues -Zagreus was a homed deity 

tom apart by the Titans. His death symbolized initiation. 
Bacchus Diphues (meaning double-natured) was a bi-sexual God 
made mad by intoxication, and thus related to the idea of divine 

8. Bahomet— according to Crowley, this is a form of the Bull-slaying 

God, Mithras, worshipped by the Knights Templar as an ass- 
headed deity. He further associates Bahomet with Set, Saturn 
and Satan. 

Crowley has included some reference to all of these ideas in his card, 
making it one of the most complicated in his deck. The horns on the male figure 
are those of Dionysus Zagreus; his green clothing is that of the Green Man of 
Spring; grapes at his feet refer to the ecstasy of Bacchus, the Crocodile is at his 
feet swimming “in the Nile.” Other symbols included here are the dove of Venus 
and the vulture of Maat, both referring to the Godhead. All of these images are 
linked by the triple egg-shape created by the Caduceus in motion, and 
symbolizing the Ain Soph Aur. 

Finally, one must call attention to the fact that while Crowley 
emphasizes Harpocrates on this Path, he represents that God most explicitly on 
the twentieth Path, JUDGMENT (what he calls The Aeon). It is thus implied 
that Shin-Fire is the fullest expression of that which began with Aleph-Air, and 
then Mem- Water. 

Practical Work 


Skrying, meaning the projection of oneself into an inner vision, is actually very 
simple. It involves nothing more than sitting quietly in front of a Tarot card (or 
other stimulus), closing one’s eyes and stepping into that card in imagination. 
The essential principle is that we create “day dreams,” allowing our minds to 
flow within the given structure of a Tarot card. Soon most students discover 
that what they experience could not possibly be of their own making. At very 
least, most are astonished by the vitality and spontaneity of the images which 
the Tarot cards evoke. 

If we make no attempt to directly encounter these images and energies, 
the whole system of Qabalah and Tarot is utterly useless. It is, as Lewis 
Carroll’s Alice said, “only a pack of cards.” Qabalah, Christianity, Hinduism, 
Buddhism, etc., all reduce to trivia if not applied. This means self-exploration in 
meditative exercises with the cards, or whatever system we may choose. There 
is no other way. 

A great many people are apprehensive about such exercises. They fear 
the unknown. But work with the Tarot is quite safe for the well balanced 
personality. The truth is that meditative exercises are a great deal of work, and 
may quickly become boring! There is little for most to fear, because we have all 
sorts of protective mechanisms built into our systems. On the other hand, the 
person who approaches these materials with a desire to escape from an 
unpleasant earthly environment runs the risk of disassociation. This means 
that the fantasy life intrudes on the normal waking consciousness, and it 
becomes difficult to separate one from the other. It is an illusive feeling of 
“floating,” of being unable to relate to solid things ordinary to our sensory 
condition. But, again, we are filled with self-protective mechanisms. The person 

252 The Qabalistic Tarot 

for whom such exercises are not right will quickly give them up, either because 
they prove dull, or because they prove uncomfortable. Thus, the student should 
boldly attempt skrying; there is everything to gain. Our own Higher Selves will 
protect us more than we understand. This is the principle of THE HANGED 
MAN, that we are not the pursuer, but the pursued. We are also not the protector, 
but the protected, and a great deal of what we do must be predicated on this 
article of faith. 

The following books are highly recommended for those who wish to 
understand the skrying process: 

The Golden Dawn by Israel Regardie. Attention should be devoted to the 
Lesser Banishing Ritual 291 and to the sections on Tattva and 

The Art and Meaning of Magic by Israel Regardie. This is a collection of 
essays by Regardie which is required reading for the serious 
student of the Hermetic Qabalah. 

The Inner Guide Meditation by Edward C. Steinbrecher. This book 
applies Jung’s insights to Path-working. It is an extremely 
valuable work, though somewhat marred by the author’s ego- 

Astral Projection, Magic and Alchemy, edited by Frances King. This is a 
collection of important Golden Dawn essays first published in 
1971. King’s introduction is, as is typical of his work, authorita- 
tive and informative. 


It may come as a suprise to some to learn that the primary reason for 
divination in the Great Work is not to learn the future. Rather, it is for the 
development of psychic faculties. The more one uses the Tarot cards to find 
answers to given questions, the more that person taps into unseen currents. 
Those who have used the Tarot cards for years will attest to the fact that there 
comes a point where the cards are not longer necessary to an accurate 
divination. Answers to specific problems are simply “felt.” 

Most people tend to consider psychism a natural talent, something with 
which one is bom, and that is true. It is, however, possible to consciously 
develop psychic abilities. To this end, it is necessary to test these growing 
abilities fearlessly, by expressing feelings about situations and being willing to 
be completely wrong! Yet the student of Tarot will find that his “guesses” are 
increasingly correct, as his friends’ responses will corroborate. 

Some may find that they develop a psychism which is particularly state- 
dependent, i.e., they may be more sensitive when using alcohol or other drugs. 

There are many different methods for using the Tarot cards as 
divinatory devices, the most complex being that of the Golden Dawn (called by 
some the “all day method”), as described in Regardie’s monumental Golden 
Dawn and in An Introduction to the Golden Dawn Tarot by the author of this 

Practical Work 253 

present book. But one of the best methods is also the simplest, the Fifteen Card 
Spread. This method is not so well known as the “Ancient Celtic,” ten-card 
spread, but it has the advantage of depending upon neighboring cards, offering 
an enormous number of possible card combinations, and being more fluid than 
other methods. 

Before any divination it is wise to invoke some Higher Force. In its 
simplest form, this may involve visualizing a sphere of brilliant white light over 
one’s head, and a prayer that the Divine Powers may guide the operation of the 

Following this invocation, the cards should be thoroughly shuffled. This 
is the most important step in a divination, and should be done with the mind as 
clear as possible. All extraneous thoughts should be eliminated, and the mind 
made completely passive. In the event that the divination is for a person not 
present, it maybe helpful to visualize the person as the shuffling is taking place. 

The cards will then be placed on a table in the following order: 



Card One: This represents the Querent, the problems surrounding him, 
his present situation and primary influences. A Court Card (King, Queen, 
Prince or Princess) in this position may mean either the Querent or some 
dominant individual (see general Court Card descriptions in the following 

Cards Two and Three: These, in conjunction with card One, are the key 
cards in the spread.They give extended information on the situation and 
personality of the Querent. 

Cards Four, Eight and Twelve (Upper right): These show the direction 
that the Querent’s life will naturally follow, unless some action is taken to 
change this course. 

Cards Thirteen, Nine and Five (Upper left): These are the possibili- 
ties for alternative action, which may be desirable or undesirable, depending on 
the other cards in the spread. 

Cards Fourteen, Ten and Six (Lower left): These cards will assist the 
Querent in making whatever decision may be necessary. In the case of an older 

254 The Qabalistic Tarot 

person, one past middle age, they mean past activities which bear on the 
question. In younger persons they indicate the future. 

Cards Seven, Eleven, and Fifteen (Lower right): These show forces 
operating beyond the control of the Querent, which cannot be changed, but to 
which one can adapt. 


The Princes and Queens, when they appear in a reading, almost 
invariably represent actual men and women connected with the subject at hand. 
But the Kings sometimes represent either the coming on or going off of a matter: 
arrival or departure, according to the way in which the cards face. The 
Princesses may show opinions, thoughts or ideas, either in harmony with or 
opposed to the subject. 

A Majority of Wands: Energy, quarrelling, opposition. 

A Majority of Cups: Pleasure and merriment. 

A Majority of Swords: Trouble and sadness, sometimes sickness, even 

A Majority of Pentacles: Business, money, possessions, etc. 

A Majority of Trumps: Forces of considerable strength, often Kar m ic 
forces beyond the enquirer’s controls. 

A Majority of Court Cards: Society, meeting with many persons. 

A Majority of Aces: Strength, generally, as the Aces are always strong 


(As taught by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn) 

THE FOOL. Idea, thought, spirituality, that which endeavors to rise above the 
material (That is, if the subject which is enquired about be spiritual). If 
the Divination be regarding a material event of ordinary life, this card is 
not good, and shows folly, stupidity, eccentricity and even mania, unless 
with very good cards indeed. It is too ideal and unstable to be generally 
good in material things. 

THE MAGICIAN. Skill, wisdom, adaptation. Craft, cunning, etc., always 
depending on neighboring cards. Sometimes occult wisdom. 

THE HIGH PRIESTESS. Change, alteration, increase and decrease. Fluctua- 
tion (whether for good or evil is shown by cards connected with it). 
Compare with DEATH and THE MOON. 

THE EMPRESS. Beauty, happiness, pleasure, success, also luxury and 
sometimes dissipation, but only if with very evil cards. 

THE EMPEROR. War, conquest, victory, strife, ambition. 

THE HIEROPHANT. Divine Wisdom. Manifestation. Explanation. Teaching. 
Differing from, though resembling in some respects, the meanings of 

THE LOVERS. Inspiration (passive and in some cases mediumistic, thus 
differing from that of THE HIEROPHANT, THE MAGICIAN and 

Practical Work 255 

THE HERMIT). Motive power, and action, arising from Inspiration and 

THE CHARIOT. Triumph, Victory, Health. Success, though sometimes not 
stable or enduring. 

STRENGTH. Courage, Strength, Fortitude. Power not arrested in the act of 
Judgment, but passing on to further action. Sometimes obstinancy. 
Compare with JUSTICE. 

THE HERMIT. Wisdom sought for and obtained from above. Divine Inspiration 
(but active, as opposed to that of THE LOVERS. In the mystical titles, 
this with THE HIEROPHANT and THE MAGICIAN are the three 

WHEEL OF FORTUNE. Good fortune and happiness (within bounds), but 
sometimes also a species of intoxication with success, if the neighboring 
cards bear this out. 

JUSTICE. Eternal Justice and Balance. Strength and Force, but arrested as in 
the act of Judgment. Compare with STRENGTH. Also, in combination 
with other cards, legal proceedings, a court of law, a trial at law, etc. 

THE HANGED MAN. Enforced sacrificed. Punishment. Loss. Fatal and not 
voluntary. Suffering generally. 

DEATH. Time. Age, Transformation. Sometimes death destruction, but rarely 
the latter, and only if it is borne out by the cards with it. Compare also 
with also with THE HIGH PRIESTESS. 

TEMPERANCE. Combination of Forces. Realization. Action (material). Effect 
either for good or evil. 

THE DEVIL. Materiality. Material Force. Material temptation; sometimes 
obsession, especially if associated with THE LOVERS. 

THE TOWER. Ambition, fighting, war, courage. Compare with THE EM- 
PEROR. In certain combinations, destruction danger, ruin, fall. 

THE STAR. Hope, faith, unexpected help. But sometimes also, dreaminess, 
deceived hope, etc. 

THE MOON. Dissatisfaction, voluntary change (as opposed to DEATH). Error, 
lying, falsity, deception (The whole according to whether the card is well 
or ill-dignified, on which it much depends). 

THE SUN. Glory, Gain, Riches. Sometimes also arrogance. Display. Vanity, but 
only when with very evil cards. 

JUDGMENT. Final decision. Judgment. Sentence. Determination of a matter 
without appeal on its plane. 

THE UNIVERSE. The matter itself, Synthesis. World. Kingdom. Usually 
denotes the actual subject of the question, and therefore depends entirely 
on the accompanying cards. 

256 The Qabalistic Tarot 

ACE OF WANDS. Force, strength, rush, vigor, energy. It governs according to 
its natural various works and questions. It implies natural as opposed to 
Invoked Force. 

TWO OF WANDS. Influence over another. Dominion. Boldness, courage, 
fierceness, shamelessness, revenge, resolution, generous, proud, sensi- 
tive, ambitious, refined, restless, turbulent, sagacious withal, yet 
unforgiving and obstinate according to dignity. 

THREE OF WANDS. Pride and Arrogance. Power sometimes. Established force 
strength. Realization of hope. Completion of labor, success of the 
struggle. Pride, nobility, wealth, power, conceit. 

FOUR OF WANDS. Settlement. Arrangement completed. Perfected work. A 
completion of a thing built up with trouble and labor. Rest after labor. 
Subtlety, cleverness, mirth, beauty, success in completion. Reasoning 
faculty, conclusions drawn from previous knowledge. Unreadiness, 
unreliable and unsteady, through over anxiety and hurriedness of 
action. Graceful in manner.At times insincere. 

FIVE OF WANDS. Strife. Quarrelling. Fighting. Violent strife and contest, 
boldness and rashness, cruelty, violence, lust and desire, prodigality and 
generosity, depending on whether well or ill-dignified. 

SIX OF WANDS. Gain and Success. Victory after strife, success through energy 
and industry, love, pleasure gained by labor, carefulness, sociability and 
avoidance of strife, yet victory therein. Also insolence, pride of riches 
and success, etc. The whole depending on dignity. 

SEVEN OF WANDS. Opposition, sometimes courage therewith. Possible 
victory, depending on the energy and courage exercised; valour, 
opposition, obstacles, difficulties, yet courage to meet them, quarrelling, 
ignorance, pretence, wrangling and threatening, also victory in small 
and unimportant things, and influence over subordinate. Depending on 
dignity as usual. 

EIGHT OF WANDS. Swiftness. A hasty communication. Letter, message. Too 
much force applied too suddenly. Very rapid rush, but too quickly passed 
and expended. Violent but not lasting. Swiftness. Rapidity. Courage, 
boldness, confidence, freedom, warfare. Violence, love of open air, field 
sports, gardens, meadows. Generous, subtle, eloquent, yet somewhat 
untrustworthy. Rapacious, insolent oppressive. Theft and robbery, 
according to dignity. 

NINE OF WANDS. Great strength. Power. Health. Recovery from sickness. 
Tremendous and steady force that cannot be shaken. Herculean 
strength, yet sometimes scientifically applied. Great success, but with 
strife and energy. Victory preceded by apprehension and fear. Health 
good, and recovery, yet doubt. Generous, questioning and curious, fond 
of external appearances, intractable, obstinate. 

Practical Work 257 

TEN OF WANDS. Cruelty and malice towards others. Oppression. Overbearing 
strength. Revenge. Injustice. Cruel and overbearing force and energy, 
but applied only to selfish and material ends. Sometimes shows failure 
in a matter, and the opposition too strong to be controlled arising from 
the person’s too great selfishness at the beginning. Ill-will, levity, lying, 
malice, slander, envy, obstinancy, swiftness in evil, if ill-dignified. Also 
generosity, self-sacrifice, and disinterestedness when well-dignified. 

PRINCESS OF WANDS. A young woman with gold or red hair and blue eyes. 
Brilliance, courage, beauty, force, sudden in anger or love, desire of 
power, enthusiasm, revenge. Ill-dignified, superficial, theatrical, cruel, 
unstable, domineering. 

PRINCE OF WANDS. A young man with yellow hair and blue or grey eyes. 
Swift, strong, hasty, rather violent, yet just and generous, noble and 
scorning meanness. If ill-dignified, cruel, intolerant, prejudiced and ill- 

QUEEN OF WANDS. A woman with red or gold hair, blue or brown eyes. She is 
steady and resolute, with great power to attract. Kind and generous 
when not opposed. When ill-dignified, she is obstinate, revengeful, 
domineering, tyrannical and apt to turn suddenly against another 
without a cause. 

KING OF WANDS. A blond or red-haired man with blue or hazel eyes. Active, 
generous, fierce, sudden and impetutous. If ill-dignified he is evil- 
minded, cruel, bigoted, brutal. 

ACE OF CUPS. Fertility, productiveness. Beauty. Pleasure. Happiness. 

TWO OF CUPS. Love. Marriage. Pleasure, Warm friendship. Harmony of 
masculine and feminine united. Harmony, pleasure, mirth, subtlety, 
sometimes folly, dissipation, waste and silly action, according to 

THREE OF CUPS. Plenty. Hospitality, eating, drinking. Pleasure, dancing, 
new clothes and merriment. Abundance, plenty, success, pleasure, 
sensuality, passive success, good luck and fortune. Love, gladness, 
kindness and bounty. According to dignity. 

FOUR OF CUPS. Receiving pleasure, but some slight discomfort and anxieties 
therewith. Blended pleasure and success. Success and pleasure, 
approaching their end. A stationary period in happiness which may or 
may not continue. It does not show marriage and love so much as the 
previous symbol. It is too passive a symbol to represent perfectly 
complete happiness. Acquisition and contention; injustice sometimes. 
Some drawbacks to pleasure implied. 

FIVE OF CUPS. Disappointments in love, marriage broken off, unkindness 
from friends (whether deserved or not is shown by the cards with it). 
Loss of friendship. Death or end of pleasures. Disappointment. Sorrow 

258 The Qabalistic Tarot 

and loss in those things from which pleasure is expected. Sadness. 
Deceit, treachery, ill-will, detraction, charity and kindness ill-requited. 
All kinds of troubles from unexpected and unsuspected sources. 

SIX OF CUPS. Beginning of wish, happiness, success, enjoyment. Commence- 
ment of steady increase, gain and pleasure, but commencement only. 
Also affront, defective knowledge, and in some instances, contention 
and strife arising from unwarranted self-assertion and vanity. Some- 
times thankless and presumptuous. Sometimes amiable and patient, 
according to dignity. 

SEVEN OF CUPS. Lying, deceipt, promises unfulfilled, illusion, deception. 
Error, slight success, but not enough energy to retain it. Possible victory, 
but neutralized by the supineness of the person. Illusionary success. 
Deception in the moment of apparent victory. Lying error, promises 
unfulfilled. Drunkenness, wrath, vanity, lust, fornication, violence 
against women. Selfish dissipation. Deception in love and friendship. 
Often success gained, but not followed up. Modified by dignity. 

EIGHT OF CUPS. Success abandoned. Decline of interest in anything. 
Temporary success, but without further result. Things thrown aside as 
soon as gained. No lasting even in the matter at hand. Indolence in 
success. Journeying from place to place. Misery and repining without 
cause. Seeking after riches. Instability according to dignity. 

NINE OF CUPS. Complete success. Pleasure and happiness. Wishes fulfilled. 
Complete and perfect realization of pleasure and happiness almost per- 
fect. Self-praise, vanity, conceit, much talking of self, yet kind and 
loveable, and may be self-denying therewith. Highminded, not easily 
satisfied with small and limited ideas. Apt to be maligned through too 
much self-assumption. A good, generous, but maybe foolish nature. 

TEN OF CUPS. Matters definitely arranged and settled as wished. Permanent 
and lasting success, happiness because inspired from above. Not 
sensual as Nine of Cups, “The Lord of Material Happiness,” yet almost 
more truly happy. Pleasure, dissipation, debauchery. Pity, quietness, 
peace-making. Kindness, generosity, wantonness, waste, etc., according 
to dignity. 

PRINCESS OF CUPS. A young woman with brown hair and blue or brown 
eyes. Sweetness, poetry, gentleness and kindness. Imagination, dreamy, 
at times indolent, yet courageous if roused. Ill-dignified she is selfish 
and luxurious. 

PRINCE OF CUPS. A young man with brown hair, grey or brown eyes. He is 
subtle, violent, crafty and artistic. A fierce nature with a calm exterior. 
Powerful for good or evil, but more attracted by the evil, if allied with 
apparent Power or Wisdom. If ill-dignified, he is intensely evil and 

Practical Work 259 

QUEEN OF CUPS. A woman with gold-brown hair and blue eyes. She is 
imaginative, poetic, kind, yet not willing to take much trouble for 
another. Coquettish, good-natured, underneath a dreamy appearance. 
Imagination stronger than feeling. Very much affected by other influ- 
ences, and therefore more dependent upon good or ill-dignify than most 
other symbols. 

KING OF CUPS. A man with fair hair and blue eyes. Graceful, poetic, 
Venusian, indolent, but enthusiastic if roused. Ill-dignified he is sensual, 
idle, and untruthful. 

ACE OF SWORDS. Invoked as contrasted with natural Force; for it is the 
invocation of the Sword. Raised upward, it invokes the Divine Crown of 
Spiritual Brightness. But reversed it is the invocation of demoniac force, 
and becomes a fearfully evil symbol. It represents therefore very great 
power for good or evil, but invoked. Also it represents whirling force and 
strength through trouble. It is the affimation of justice, upholding 
Divine authority; it may become the Sword of Wrath, Punishment and 

TWO OF SWORDS. Quarrel made up and arranged. Peace restored, yet some 
tension in relationships. Action sometimes selfish and sometimes 
unselfish. Contradictory characteristics in the same nature. Strength 
through suffering. Pleasure after pain. Sacrifice and trouble, yet 
strength arising therefrom. Peace restored, truth, arrangement of 
differences. Justice, Truth and untruth. Sorrow and sympathy for those 
in trouble, aid to the weak and oppressed, unselfishness. Also an 
inclination to repetition of affronts if once pardoned, of asking questions 
of little moment, want of tact, often doing injury when meaning well. 

THREE OF SWORDS. Unhappiness, sorrow, tears. Disruption, interruption, 
separation, quarrelling, sowing of discord and strife, mischief-making, 
sorrow, tears, yet mirth in evil pleasures, singing, faithfulness in 
promises, honesty in money transactions, selfish and dissipated, yet 
sometimes generous, deceitful in words and repetition. The whole thing 
according to dignity. 

FOUR OF SWORDS. Convalescence, recovery from sickness, change for the 
better. Rest from sorrow, yet after and through it. Peace from and after 
War. Relaxation of anxiety. Quietness, rest, ease and plenty, yet after 
struggle. Goods of this life abundance. Modified by the dignity as in the 
other cases. 

FIVE OF SWORDS. Defeat, loss, malice, spite, slander, evil-speaking. Contest 
finished, and decided against the person, failure, defeat, anxiety, 
trouble, poverty, avarice, grieving after pain, laborious, unresting, loss 
and vileness of nature. Malicious, slandering, lying, spiteful and 
talebearing. A busy-body and separator of friends, hating to see peace 

260 The Qabalistic Tarot 

and love between others. Cruel yet cowardly, thankless and unreliable. 
Clever and quick in thought and speech. Feelings of pity easily roused 
but unendurable. As dignity. 

SIX OF SWORDS. Labor, work. Journey, probably over water. Success after 
anciety and trouble. Selfishness, beauty, conceit, but sometimes modes- 
ty therewith. Dominion, patience, labor, etc., according to dignty. 

SEVEN OF SWORDS. In character untrustworthy, vacillation. Unstable effort. 
Journey, probably over land. Partial success, yielding when victory is 
within grasp, as if the last reserves of strength were used up. Inclination 
to lose when on the point of gaining through not continuing the effort. 
Love of abundance, fascinated by display, given to compliment, affronts 
and insolences, and to detect and spy on another. Inclined to betray 
confidences, not always intentional. Rather vacillating and unreliable, 
according to dignity as usual. 

EIGHT OF SWORDS: Narrow or restricted. Shortened Force. Petty. A Prison. 
Too much force applied to small things, too much attention to detail, at 
expense of principal and more important points. Ill-dignified, these 
qualities produce malice, pettiness, and domineering qualities. Patience 
in detail of study, great ease in some things, counterbalanced by equal 
disorder in others. Impulse, equally fond of giving or receiving money, or 
presents. Generous, clever, acute, selfish, and without strong feeling of 
affection. Admires wisdom, yet applies it to small and unworthy objects. 

NINE OF SWORDS. Illness. Suffering, Malice. Cruelty, Pain. Despair, cruelty, 
pitilessness, malice, suffering, want, loss, misery. Burden, oppression, 
labor, subtlety and craft, lying, dishonesty, etc., according to dignity. 

TEN OF SWORDS. Ruin. Death. Failure. Disaster. (Almost a worse symbol 
than the Nine of Swords). Undisciplined warring force, complete 
disruption and failure. Ruin of all plans and projects. Disdain, insolence 
and impertinence, yet mirth and jolly therewith. Loving to overthrow the 
happiness of others, a repeater of things, given to much unprofitable 
speech, and of many words, yet clever, acute and eloquent, etc., 
depending on dignity. 

PRINCESS OF SWORDS. A young woman with light brown hair and blue eyes. 
Wisdom, strength, acuteness, subtleness in material things, grace and 
dexterity. Ill-dignified, she is frivolous and cunning. 

PRINCE OF SWORDS. A young man with dark hair and dark eyes. Full of 
ideas and thoughts and designs, distrustful, suspicious, firm in friend- 
ship and enmity, careful, slow, over-cautious. Symbolizes Alpha and 
Omega, the Giver of Death, who slays as fast as he creates. Ill-dignified; 
harsh, malicious, plotting, obstinate, yet hesitating and unreliable. 

QUEEN OF SWORDS. A graceful woman of grey hair and light-brown eyes. 
Intensely perceptive, keen observation, subtle, quick, confident, often 

Practical Work 261 

perserveringly accurate in superficial things, graceful, fond of dancing 
and balancing. Ill-dignified: cruel, sly, deceitful, unreliable, though with 
a good exterior. 

KING OF SWORDS. A man with dark brown hair and dark eyes. He is active, 
clever, subtle, fierce, delicate, courageous, skillful, but inclined to domi- 
neer. Also to overvalue small things unless well-dignified. Ill-dignified, 
deceitful, tyrannical and crafty. 

ACE OF PENTACLES. Material gain, labor, power, wealth, etc. It represents 
materiality in all senses, good and evil, and is therefore in a sense 

TWO OF PENTACLES: Pleasant change. Visit to friends. The harmony of 
change. Alternation of gain and loss, weakness and strength, ever 
varying occupation, wandering, discontented with any fixed condition 
of things; now elated, now melancholy, industrious, yet unreliable, 
fortunate through prudence of management yet sometimes unaccount- 
ably foolish. Alternatively talkative and suspicious. Kind yet wavering 
and inconsistent. Fortunate in journeying. Argumentative. 

THREE OF PENTACLES. Business, paid employement. Commercial trans- 
actions. Working and constructive force, building up, erection, creation, 
realization, and increase of material things, gain in commercial 
transactions, rank, increase in substance, influence, cleverness in 
business, selfishness, commencement of matter to be established later. 
Narrow and prejudiced, keen in matter of gain. Modified by dignity. 
Sometimes given to seeking after the impossible. 

FOUR OF PENTAC LE S. Gain of money and influence. A present. Assured 
material gain, success, rank, dominion, earthly power completed by 
leading to nothing beyond. Prejudiced, covetous, suspicious, careful 
and orderly, but discontented. Little enterprise or originality. Altered by 
dignity as usual. 

FIVE OF PENTACLES. Loss of profession. Loss of money. Monetary anxiety. 
Loss of money or position. Trouble about material things. Toil, labor, 
land cultivation, building, knowledge and acuteness of earthly things, 
poverty, carefulness. Kindness, sometimes money regained after severe 
toil and labor. Unimaginative, harsh, stem, determined and obstinate. 

SIX OF PENTACLES. Success in material things. Prosperity in business. 
Success and gain in material undertakings, power, influence, rank, 
nobility, rule over people. Fortunate, successful, just and liberal. If ill- 
dignified may be purse-proud, insolent from success or prodigal. 

SEVEN OF PENTACLES. Unprofitable speculation and employment. Little 
gain for much labor. Promises of success unfulfilled. Loss of apparently 
promising fortune. Hopes deceived and crushed. Disappointment. Mise- 
ry, slavery, necessity and baseness. A cultivator of land, and yet is loser 

262 The Qabalistic Tarot 

thereby. Sometimes it denotes slight and isolated gains with no fruits 
resulting therefrom, and of no further account, though seeming to 
promise well. Honorable work undertaken for the love of it, and without 
desire of reward. According to dignity. 

EIGHT OF PENACLES. Skill, prudence, cunning. Over-careful in small things 
at the expense of the great. “Penny-wise and pound foolish.” Gain of 
ready money in small sums. Mean, avariciousness. Industrious, cultiva- 
tion of land, hoarding, lacking in enterprise. 

NINE OF PENTACLES. Inheritance. Much increase of money. Complete 
realization of material gain, inheritance, covetousness, treasuring of 
goods and sometimes theft and knavery. All according to dignity. 

TEN OF PENTACLES. Riches and wealth. Completion of material gain and 
fortune, but nothing beyond. As it were, at the very pinnacle of success. 
Old age, slothfulness, great wealth, yet sometimes loss in part, and later 
heaviness, dullness of mind, yet clever and prosperous in money 

PRINCESS OF PENTACLES. A young woman with rich-brown, or red-brown 
hair, and dark eyes. She is generous, kind, diligent, benevolent, careful, 
courageous, perservering. If ill-dignified she is wasteful and prodigal. 

PRINCE OF PENTACLES. A young man with dark brown hair and dark eyes. 
Increase of matter, increase of good and evil, solidifies, practically 
amplifies things, steady, reliable. If ill-dignified, animal, material, 
stupid. In either slow to anger, but furious if roused. 

QUEEN OF PENTACLES. A woman with dark hair and dark eyes. She is 
impetuous, kind, timid, rather charming, great-hearted, intelligent, me- 
lancholy, truthful, yet of many moods. Ill-dignified, she is undecided, 
capricious, foolish, changeable. 

KING OF PENTACLES. A man with dark eyes and dark hair. Unless very well 
dignified he is heavy, dull, and material. Laborious, clever and patient 
in material matters. If ill-dignified he is avaricious, grasping, dull, 
jealous, not very courageous, unless assisted by other symbols. 


Colors on the Tree of Life (from 777) 



White, flecked gold 

White, flecked red, blue, and 

Grey, flecked pink 

Deep azure, flecked yellow 

Red, flecked black 

Gold amber 

Olive, flecked gold 

Yellowish brown, flecked white 

Citrine, flecked azure 

Black rayed with yellow 

Emerald, flecked gold 

Indigo, rayed violet 

Silver, rayed sky blue 

Bright rose or cerise, rayed 
pale green 

Glowing red 

Rich brown 

Reddish grey inclined to mauve 

Dark greenish brown 

Reddish amber 

Plum colour 

Bright blue, rayed yellow 

Pale green 

White, flecked purple, like 
Livid indigo brown (like a 
black beetle) 

Dark vivid blue 

Cold dark grey, approaching 

Bright red, rayed azure or 

White, tinged purple 

Stone colour 

Amber, rayed red 

Vermilion, flecked crimson and 

Black, rayed blue 

White brilliance 

Blue pearl grey, like mother- 

Dark brown 

Deep purple 

Bright scarlet 

Rich salmon 

Bright yellow green 


Very dark purple 

As Queen Scale, but flecked 
with gold 

Blue emerald green 


Cold pale blue 

Early spring green 

Brilliant flame 

Deep warm olive 

New yellow leather 

Rich bright russet 


Green grey 

Rich purple 

Deep blue-green 

Deep olive-green 

Very dark brown 


Blue black 

Venetian red 

Bluish mauve 

Light translucent pinkish 

Rich amber 

Scarlet, flecked gold 

Blue black 

White brilliance 




Scarlet red . . — 

Yellow (gold) 




Citrine, olive, russet, and 

Sky blue 



Sky blue 


Deep indigo 

Pale mauve 


Deep purple 

Slate grey 



Sea green 

Dull brown 




Sky blue 

Buff, flecked silver-white. 

Gold yellow 




Brilliance 1 

Pure soft blue 2 

Crimson 3 

Deep violet 4 

Orange 5 

Clear pink rose 6 

Amber 7 

Violet purple 8 

Indigo 9 

Yellow 10 

Bright pale yellow 11 

Yellow 12 

Blue 13 

Emerald green 14 

Scarlet 15 

Red orange 16 

Orange 17 

Amber 18 

Yellow, greenish 19 

Green, yellowish 20 

Violet 21 

Emerald green 22 

Deep blue 23 

Green blue 24 

Blue 25 

Indigo 26 

Scarlet 27 

Violet 28 

Crimson (ultra violet) — 29 

Orange 30 

Glowing orange scarlet . . 31 
Indigo 32 

264 The Qabalistic Tarot 

Every student should paint a Tree of Life. The diagram used for 
meditation and ritual work has the Sephiroth in the colors of Briah and the 
Paths in the colors of Atziluth. The preparation of a painting of all four worlds 
(one above the other) is also recommended. Work is best done on a smooth 
wooden panel, prepared with gesso. The diagrams should be painted in either 
oil or artist’s acrylic. 

Notes on color. The best possible background color for the Tree is 
metallic gold. This is available in acrylic. 

Confusion may exist about some of the colors of Malkuth in Yetzirah 
and Briah, i.e., citrine, olive, russet and black. The first three are the colors of 
Hod, Tiphareth and Netzach tinged with the Purple of Yesod. Citrine (Yellow + 
small amount of violet) is at the top; Olive (Emerald Green + violet) is at the 
right; Russet (Orange + violet) is at the left; black is at the base. 

Colors and Sounds on the Tree of Life 

The following color-sound correspondences are taken from the Golden 
Dawn notebook of Alan Bennett, teacher of both Fortune and Crowley. These 
correspondences were elaborated upon by Paul Case who developed a system of 
healing and of invocation still taught by the BOTA. 







Bright pale yellow 











G # 




Emerald Green 

























Yellow, Greenish 





Green, Yellowish 










Emerald Green 





Deep Blue 





Green Blue 



































Glowing Orange-scarlet 








Reference 265 


(FROM 777) 

Pairs of Angels ruling 

Pairs of Angels ruling 

Pairs of Angels ruling 

Pairs of Angels ruling 

• • Wn n'un 

• fon3D 

• -i>N33i> men 

- nwin rveoy 

■ -Santa n'03» 

■ . $>xnn n'Dpn 

• . n'irp n'nnS 

. . han fi'DiD 

• • iT1K$> fobs 

• • H'pID ^RTID 

• • -mm 

. • rpn$> rvi’nB 

• • bx'ix n'oyn 

• .n'H30 ^K'3D 

• -i>Ni3'D nnsh? 

• • 5>N"' 

. . ^aym 

• . n'DDj 

. n'jj'no 

- -Wtao n'inn 

• $>xnnn Vjo'o 

. ^mn ^x-rco 

. .Tnn: ivxxn 

. . n'^ii n'ni>' 

■ .taaoi Sunn' 

. n'KDtt ^nna 

• t>xrvv rvnse' 

. . iri’KD buna 

. . 5>ai:y ^x'no 

. • n'-^x Sx'n 

• • 5>K"3 $>XD1X 

. . foiTB 

• -n'3DT ^Np30 

• • n'is*> n’jfnn 


No. of 

Divine Name 

Archangelic Name 

Choir of Angels 

1. Kether 



Chayoth ha-Qadesh 



tsnpn nvn 

2. Chokmah 







3. Binah 

Yhvh Elohim 



□vrtK mrp 



4. Chesed 






5. Geburah 

Elohim Gibor 



313: O^N 



6. Tiphareth 

Yhvh Eloah Vedaath 



njni m^x mrp 



7. Netzach 

Yhvh Tzabaoth 



mx3S mrp 



8. Hod 

Elohim Tzabaoth 


Beni Elohim 

m«3S O’Trt’K 


crfix ':3 

9. Yesod 

Shaddai El Chai 



vftK 'iff 


10. Malkuth 

Adonai ha-Aretz 



p«n ':ik 


266 The Qabalistic Tarot 

Thirty Two Paths of Wisdom 


1 Kether 

The Admirable or Hidden Intelligence 

2 Binah 

The Illuminating Intelligence 

3 Chokmah 

The Sanctifying Intelligence 

4 Chesed 

The Measuring, Cohesive or Receptacular Intelligence 

5 Geburah 

The Radical Intelligence 

6 Tiphareth 

The Intelligence of the Mediating Influence 

7 Netzach 

The Occult Intelligence 

8 Hod 

The Absolute or Perfect Intelligence 

9 Yesod 

The Pure Intelligence 

10 Malkuth 

The Resplendant Intelligence 


11 Aleph 

The Scintillating Intelligence 

12 Beth 

The Intelligence of Transparency 

13 Gimel 

The Uniting Intelligence 

14 Daleth 

The Illuminating Intelligence 

15 Heh 

The Constituting Intelligence 

16 Vau 

The Triumphal or Eternal Intelligence 

17 Zain 

The Disposing Intelligence 

18 Cheth 

The House of Influence 

19 Teth 

The Intelligence of all the Activities of the Spiritual Beings 

20 Yod 

The Intelligence of Will 

21 Kaph 

The Intelligence of Conciliation 

22 Lamed 

The Faithful Intelligence 

23 Mem 

The Stable Intelligence 

24 Num 

The Imaginative Intelligence 

25 Samekh 

The Intelligence of Probation 

26 Ayin 

The Renovating Intelligence 

27 Peh 

The Exciting Intelligence 

28 Tzaddi 

The Natural Intelligence 

29 Qoph 

The Corporeal Intelligence 

30 Resh 

The Collecting Intelligence 

31 Shin 

The Perpetual Intelligence 

32 Tau 

The Administrative Intelligence 


1. Gareth Knight, Experiences of the Inner Worlds, England, 1975, iv. 

2. Richard Cavendish, The Tarot, New York 1975, 9. This is the best work 
yet to appear on the history of Tarot. 

3. Louis R6au, L’Art Chretien, Paris 1955, v.I, 163. 

4. As is discussed in the section on THE HIGH PRIESTESS, Waite 
disagrees with this idea, saying that the Female Pope actually relates to 
the cult of Astarte. 

5. The Kyhalion, Chicago, 1940, 24 ff. The authors of this work, subtitled “A 
Study of the Hermetic Philosophy of Ancient Egypt and Greece,” are 
unknown. They have signed themselves only as “Three Initiates.” 

6. Israel Regardie, The Golden Dawn, Chicago, 1940, v.IV, 176. 

7. Eliphas L6vi, Transcendental Magic, London, 1958,3. 

8. C.G. Jung, Psychology and Alchemy, New York, 1968, 101. 

9. Israel Regardie, The Middle Pillar, Chicago, 1945; also by Regardie, 
Foundations of Practical Magic, England, 1979. 

10. It is for this reason that, until the present time, all practical works on the 
occult contained some purposeful errors. 

11. Aleister Crowley, The Confessions of Aleister Crowley, New York 1969, 
923. This work is modestly subtitled “An Autohagiography.” 

12. Ellic Howe, The Magicians of the Golden Dawn, London 1972, 1-25. 

13. Regardie discusses some of his own experiences, as well as his opinions of 
the Order of the Golden Dawn in My Rosicrucian Adventure, Minnesota, 

14. Ella Young, Flowering Dusk, New York, 1945, 107. 

15. A. E. Waite, Shadows of Life and Thought, London, 1938, 184-5. 

16. A. Quiller, Jr. (Crowley), “Dead Weight,” The Equinox, v.I, No.X, 211. 

17. Unpublished lecture, addressed to the “Tomorrow Club,” in 1945, by 
Lady Harris. 

268 The Qabalistic Tarot 

18. Harris, ibid. 

19. Regardie, Golden Dawn, v. IV, 137. “Book T” is also reprinted in An 
Introduction to the Golden Dawn Tarot by Robert Wang, New York, 1978. 

20. Gershom Scholem, Kabbalah, New York, 1974, 5. 

21. Rabbi Solomon Ganzfried, Code of Jewish Law, New York, 1963, 51. 

22. It is also likely that some scholarly purists consider the diagram an 
unacceptable later development. 

23. S.L. MacGregor Mathers, translation of Knorr von Rosenroth’s The 
Kabbalah Unveiled, London, 1957, 5-6. See also Christian D. Ginsburg, 
The Kabbalah, London 1925, 84. 

24. Gershom Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism, New York 1977, 

25. Scholem, Major Trends, 44. 

26. Scholem, Kabbalah, 46. 

27. Phineas Mordell, The Origin of Letters and Numerals According to the 
Sepher Yetzirah. New York, 1975, first published in the Jewish Quarterly 
Review, new series for April 1912, v.ll, and for April 1913, v.lll. 

28. See: Sepher Yetzirah, translation by Wynn Westcott including The Thirty 
Two Paths of Wisdom (1877), New York 1975. Westcott was one of the 
founders of the Golden Dawn, and it is his translation that is most 
generally used even today because it is consistent with Golden Dawn 
principles; Sepher Yetzirah, translation by Isodor Kalisch (1877, first 
English translation), California, 1954; The Sepher Yetzirah, translation 
and extensive commentary by Carlo Saures, Boulder 1976. The Saures 
work is ponderous at best; The Book of Formation (Sepher Yetzirah), 
translation and commentary by Knut Stenrung (1923), New York, 1970. 
While Stenrung’s translation is generally competent, it is unnecessarily 
involved and includes a number of nineteenth century misconceptions 
about the document; Book of Creation, translation of the Sepher Yetzirah 
by Irving Friedman, New York, 1977. This is one of the best translations 
yet to appear, and is particularly valuable for its notes on language. 

29. Scholem, Kabbalah, 23. 

30. Scholem, Kabbalah, 23. 

31. Scholem, Kabbalah, 23. 

32. The Bahir, translation by Aryeh Kaplan, New York, 1979. This first 
English translation of the text includes the original Hebrew. Kaplan 
disagrees with Scholem (who also translated this work into a European 
language), in insisting that this work is of the 1st century B.C. 

33. Scholem, Kabbalah, 45-47. 

34. Scholem, Kabbalah, 55. 

35. Scholem, Kabbalah, 57. 

36. Scholem, Kabbalah, 190. 

37. The Zohar, translation by Harry Sperling and Maurice Simon, New York 
1973. While this well-bound edition, published by Soncino Press, is the 
best-known, the exact same text is also published by Rebecca Bennett 
Publications, in a less expensive and somewhat reduced size. 

Notes 269 

38. The Kabbalah Unveiled, Mathers translation. See note 23. 

39. Scholem, Kabbalah, 240. 

40. Frances A. Yates, Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition, Chicago, 
1964, 12. 

41. Yates, Giordano Bruno, 17. 

42. Scholem, Kabbalah, 197. 

43. Readers interested in Agrippa are referred to Agrippa and the Crisis of 
Renaissance Thought by Charles G. Nauert, Jr., Illinois, 1965. This 
excellent doctoral dissertation has become a standard in its field. 

44. Frances A. Yates, The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age, Lon- 
don, 1979, 21. 

45. Yates, Giordano Bruno, 400. 

46. Yates, Giordano Bruno, 402. 

47. See “A Note on Dr. Dee and his Occult Researches,” an appendix to the 
1974 Portmeirion facsimile edition of Dee’s A True and Faithful Relation 
of 1659; see also the introduction by Diane di Prima to The Hieroglyphic 
Monad, New York, 1975, an English translation of the Latin work 
issued in London in 1564. The preface to the original edition of A True and 
Faithful Relation was written by Meric Casaubon, whose father had 
studied the Hermetic fragments. The standard work on John Dee, a highly 
readable book, is John Dee, by Peter J. French, London, 1972. 

48. Frances A. Yates, The Rosicrucian Enlightenment, London 1972, 50. 

49. “The Fame and confession of the Fraternity of the Rosie Cross,” 
translation by Thomas Vaughan (1652), A Christian Rosencreutz An- 
thology, edited by Paul Allen, New York, 1968, 163. 

50. Rudolph Steiner, “The Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosencreutz,” 
Rosencreutz Anthology, 19. 

51. Yates, Rosicrucian Enlightenment, 50. 

52. Yates, Rosicrucian Enlightenment, 77. 

53. See note 12. 

54. Paul Foster Case, The Book of Tokens, California, 1947, vii. 

55. Israel Regardie, Golden Dawn, v. II, 216. 

56. Westcott wrote on the Rosicrucians, but he was not much of a scholar. The 
best work comes from Waite: The Brotherhood of the Rosy Cross, New 
York, 1961. 

57. The Chaldean Oracles, Edited and revised by Sapere Aude (Westcott’s 
Order name), New Jersey 1978, xiii. 

58. See: E.R. Dodds, “New Light on the Chaldean Oracles,” Harvard 
Theological Review, LIV 1961, 263. 

59. Refer to books cited in note 9. 

60. Paul Case, The Tree of Life, Lesson 4, Figure 4 (no page no.). Page 
references to Case’s study course are generally to the original versions, 
printed 5%X8%. Today the BOTA distributes the courses in 8%X11, and 
has added copyright notices. 

61. Aleister Crowley, 777, London 1955, xxvii. 

62. Ben Shahn, Love and Joy about Letters, New York 1963, 5. 

270 The Qabalistic Tarot 

63. This, and all comments on the Sephiroth printed in italics preceding the 
text in this chapter are from the Golden Dawn “Knowledge Lectures,” 
Regardie, “Concerning the Tree of Life,” The Golden Dawn, v. 1, 191-98. 

64. P.D. Ouspensky, Tertium Organum, New York 1927. 

65. Dion Fortune, The Mystical Qabalah, London 1951, 299. Dion Fortune 
was a member of the Order of the Golden Dawn, but broke with Mrs. 
Mathers to form her own group, The Society of the Inner Light. The 
Mystical Qabalah remains the standard against which all books on the 
Hermetic Qabalah are judged. The Society established by Fortune has, 
however, turned toward Christian Qabalism of a sort that Fortune 
would undoubtedly have disapproved. 

66. Regardie, The Golden Dawn, v. IV. All quotations preceding the Court 
Cards and the Minor cards are from ‘Book T.’ See note 19. 

67. This Lamen is illustrated in full color in The Secret Temple by Robert 
Wang, New York 1980. 

68. ‘Book T’, Golden Dawn, v. IV, 143. 

69. Manly Palmer Hall, An Encyclopedic Outline of Masonic, Hermetic, 
Qabbalistic and Rosicrucian Symbolical Philosophy, California, 1957, 

70. Waite says that his use of the Lion’s head above the Caduceus of Hermes 
is a “variant of a sign which is found in a few old examples of this card.” 
Arthur Edward Waite, The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, New York 1959, 222. 

71. Manly Palmer Hall, Encyclopedic Outline, LIV. 

72. Manly Palmer Hall, Encyclopedic Outline, LXXXIX. See also T.H. White, 
The Bestiary, New York 1960, 125. 

73. White, The Bestiary, 37-40. 

74. Aleister Crowley, The Book of Thoth, New York 1974, 196. This book was 
originally published as part of Crowley’s magazine series, The Equinox, 
v. Ill, No. V. 

75. Manly Palmer Hall, Encyclopedic Outline, CXXXII. 

76. Manly Palmer Hall, Encyclopedic Outline, LXXXIX. 

77. Crowley, Book of Thoth, 161. 

78. This is an idea with which Regardie disagrees strongly. He views the 
concept of such “Masters” as having come from the Besant-Leadbeater 
School, and has stated that this idea “is the way of gross deception.” 
Fortune, however, devotes considerable attention to the masters which 
she assigns to Chesed. Mystical Qabalah, 166-167. 

79. Crowley, Book of Thoth, 213. 

80. Crowley, Book of Thoth, 191. 

81. Matthew 8:13. 

82. Claudius Ptolemy, The Centriloquy, or Hundred Aphorisms, printed as an 
appendix to Ptolemy’s Tetrabiblos; California 1976, 153. 

83. Matthew 8:13. 

84. Crowley, Book of Thoth, 206. 

85. Crowley, Book of Thoth, 215. 

86. Crowley, Book of Thoth, 167. 

Notes 271 

87. Karl Baron Von Reichenbach, Researches on Magnetism, Electricity, 
Heat, Light, Crystallization and Chemical Attraction in their relations to 
The Vital Force, New York 1974. 

88. Crowley, Book of Thoth, 216. 

89. Manly Palmer Hall, Encyclopedic Outline, LXXXVIII. 

90. Manly Palmer Hall, Encyclopedic Outline, XXXII. The idea that seamen 
consider the Swan good luck is mentioned by T.H. White, Bestiary, 119. 

91. N.G.L. Hammond and H.H. Scullard, Editors, The Oxford Classical 
Dictonary, Oxford 1978, 472. 

92. Quotations here are from the Westcott translation of the Sepher Yetzirah. 

93. Scholem, Kabbalah, 23-26. 

94. Knight, Experience of the Inner Worlds, 146-161. 

95. Aleister Crowley , “The Temple of Solomon the King, “ Equinox , v.I, No. 
V, 72. Our example is taken from Crowley’s quotation from Westcott’s 
Introduction to the Study of the Qabalah. 

96. Fortune, Mystical Qabalah, 43 ff. 

97. Refer also, on each card to “Notes on the Tarot,” by Mathers, Golden 
Dawn, v. 1, 141-143 with the “unofficial” discussion of the Tarot Keys, v. 
IV. (‘Book T’), 209. This article, entitled “The Tarot Trumps,” is signed by 
“Q.L.,” meaning “Quaero Lucem” the Stella Matutina name taken by 
Mrs. Felkin. She obviously lacked the profound understanding of the 
Tarot of either Mathers or Crowley, but these descriptions have some 
utility. They are, surprisingly, the only discussion of the Golden Dawn 
Trumps. Mathers confined his explanation to those few cards used in the 
early rituals. 

98. This is reproduced opposite the title page to Scholem’s Kabbalah. 

99. The “Magical Images of the Sephiroth” are given in 777, Col. CXX, 25. 

100. Revelation 4:3. The rainbow as a symbol of God’s covenant with Noah 
appears in Genesis 9:17. 

101. This is an obscure panel which in 1904 Crowley discovered in the Boulak 
Museum, an institution now closed, but the collection of which has been 
taken over by the Cairo Museum. The Stele, representing Horus, was of 
special importance to Crowley, and related to his writing of the Book of 
the Law. This is described in Confessions, 395. 

102. Crowley, Book of Thoth, 116. 

103. Manly Palmer Hall, Encyclopedic Outline, CLXI facing. 

104. Paul Case, Thirty-Two Paths of Wisdom, 16, 4. 

105. Crowley, Book of Thoth, 113. 

106. Crowley, Book of Thoth, 114. It is anyone’s guess how he arrived at this 

107. Regardie, Golden Dawn, v. II, 110. 

108. Crowley, Book of Thoth, 111-112. 

109. E.A. Wallis Budge, The Gods of the Egyptians, v II, 1969, 379-382. This 
work is important because it was the standard work on Egyptology at the 
time the three decks related to the Golden Dawn were produced. It has 
even been suggested that Budge may have been a member of the Golden 

272 The Qabalistic Tarot 

Dawn, and had his own secret group within the walls of the British 
Museum, but this seems unlikely. 

110. Regardie, Golden Dawn, v. II, 130. 

111. Crowley, Book of Thoth, 112. 

112. Budge, Gods of the Egyptians, v. II, 379-382. 

113. These manuscripts have never been published, and are in a private 

114. Case, Thirty-Two Paths of Wisdom, Lesson 16, 1. 

115. Manly Palmer Hall, Encyclopedic Outline, CXXXII. 

116. Crowley, Book of Thoth, 112. 

117. “Artemis,” Oxford Classical Dictionary, 126-27; see also “Artemis,” 
Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology, New York, 1960, 129-32. 

118. Budge, Gods of the Egyptians, v. ii, 264. 

119. This idea appears to have originated with the German poet, Conrad of 
Wurzburg, who observed that both the lobster and Christ were more 
beautiful after death. R6au, L’Art Chretien, v. I, 88. 

120. Case, Tarot Fundamentals, 37. 

121. Regardie, Golden Dawn, v. II, 135. 

122. Crowley, Book of Thoth, 110. 

123. Zohar, Nurho de Manhar translation, San Diego, 1978, 62. The Sperling 
and Simon translation of this passage reads: “Why is this first gate called 
‘the fear of the Lord’? Because it is the tree of good and evil. If a man 
deserves well it is good, and if he deserves ill it is evil. Hence in that place 
abides fear, which is the gateway to all that is good. ‘Good’ and 
‘understanding’ are two gates which are as one.’ R. Jose said: ‘The term 
“A good understanding” alludes to the Tree of Life which is the 
knowledge of good without evil.’ ” Zohar, trans. Sperling and Simon, v. I, 

125. Case, Thirty-Two Paths of Wisdom, Lesson 15, 5. 

126. Case, ibid. 

127. Crowley, Book of Thoth, 109. 

1 28. These ideas are also related to the Midnight Sun which, to the Alchemists, 
represented the Light coming out of Darkness. 

129. “Mars,” Oxford Classical Dictionary, 651. 

130. Crowley, Book of Thoth, 108. 

131. Crowley, Book of Thoth, 109. 

132. Zohar, Sperling and Simon, v. I, 97. 

133. Aleister Crowley, The Magical Diaries of Aleister Crowley, edited by 
Stephan Skinner, New York, 1979, 37. 

134. “Circumcision,” Dictionary of the Bible, edited by James Hastings, New 
York, 1963, 163. 

135. Leviticus, 19.23f. 

136. Genesis, 7.11. 

137. Case, An Introduction to Tarot, Lesson 8, 5. 

138. L6vi uses the term “Great Magical Agent” interchangeably with the term 
“Astral Light.” Transcendental Magic, London, 1958, passim. 

139. Oxford Classical Dictionary, 876. 

140. Crowley, Book of Thoth, 105. 

Notes 273 

141. A work of particular interest is The Sacred Fire: The Story of Sex in 
Religion by B.Z. Goldberg, New York 1958. 

142. Gareth Knight, A Practical Guide to Qabalistic Symbolism, Toddington, 
1965. v. II, 69. 

143. Crowley, 777, 40. 

144. Hariette and Homer Curtis, The Voice of Isis, Washington, D.C., 1946, 

145. Paul Foster Case, The Tarot, New York, 1947, 147. 

146. Crowley, Book of Thoth, 102-103. 

147. Francis King, Sexuality .Magic and Perversion, New Jersey, 1972, 98. 
Some Members of the O.T.O. disclaim King’s work, particularly his Secret 
Rituals of the O.T.O. , New York, 1973. It is said that he never had access 
to official O.T.O. documents, and that there are errors in these books. On 
the other hand, King is a very persuasive and competent scholar, whose 
work is not lightly dismissed. 

Pursuant to the claims of efficacy for these sexual techniques, it will be 
observed that Crowley apparently never made much money in this way. 

148. Case, Tarot Fundamentals, 30.7. 

149. Crowley, Book of Thoth, 100, note 1. 

150. C.G. Jung, Psychology and Alchemy, New Jersey, 1977. 

151. Gareth Knight, A History of White Magic, London 1978, 3-4. 

152. Walter Lowrie, Art in the Early Church, New York, 1947, 74. 

153. Saint John of the Cross, Dark Night of the Soul, 119. 

154. Refer to note 9. 

155. This is mentioned by Cavandish in The Tarot, 106. 

156. Waite, Pictorial Key, 116. 

157. C.G. Jung, Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, New Jersey, 1977, 

21 . 

158. Saint John of the Cross, Dark Night, 34. 

159. Jung, Archetypes, 22. 

160. Crowley, Confessions, 452. 

161. Crowley, Confessions, 452. 

162. Crowley, Confessions, 840. 

163. Crowley, Confessions, 249. 

164. Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology, 261. 

165. James G. Frazer, The Golden Bough, New York 1958, 413. 

166. Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology, 141-43; Oxford Classical Diction- 
ary, v. IV, 260ff. 

167. The Enochian Tablets are described at length in Regardie’s Golden 
Dawn, v. IV, 260ff. 

168. Crowley, Book of Thoth, 98. 

169. Gareth Knight, Practical Guide, v. II, 116. 

170. In the exercise of the Middle Pillar, they are visualized at the right and 
left shoulders. 

171. Case Introduction to Tarot, Lesson 6,6; Tarot Fundamentals, Lesson 25, 

172. Budge, Gods of the Egyptians, v. I, 417. 

274 The Qabalistic Tarot 

173. Crowley, 777, 40. 

174. Crowley, Book of Thoth, 87. 

175. Eliphas L6vi, The Magical Ritual of the Sanctum Regnum, translated and 
edited by W.Wynn Westcott, New York, 1973, illustration facing page 40. 

176. L6vi, Magical Ritual of the Sanctum Regnum, 39-40. 

177. “Sphinx,” Oxford Classical Dictionary, 1009. 

178. Unpublished Enochian papers of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. 
Here, again, it is necessary to distinguish the historical reality from that 
which is entirely valid symbolism. Mathers seems to have invented more 
than one of the “Egyptian Mysteries,” though he has done so using sound 
metaphysical principles. 

179. This idea is also expressed in the Enochian papers. 

180. Ezekiel, 1.4-28. 

181. The Middle Ages defined the reasons for the attribution of the animals: 
Matthew is the Man (symbol of Air in the Qabalah) because he wrote 
about the most human qualities of Christ; Mark is the Bull (symbol of 
Earth) because he wrote about Christ as a beast of burden, carrying the 
weight of mankind; Luke is the Lion (symbol of Fire) because he described 
the passionate side of Christ and John is the Eagle (symbol of Water) 
because he wrote of Christ in a mystical way, soaring above all heads. 

182. Goffredo Rosati, “Symbolism and Allegory,” Encyclopedia of World Art, 
New York 1959-68, 815-16. 

183. Budge, Gods of the Egyptians, v. I, 20-21. 

184. John, 1.1. 

185. Budge, Gods of the Egyptians, v. II, 295. 

186. “Typhon, Typhoeus, Oxford Classical Dictionary, 1101; Larousse Ency- 
clopedia of Mythology, 166, 195; Budge, Gods of the Egyptians, v. II, 246. 

187. Crowley, Book of Thoth, 91. 

188. “The Myth of the Going-Forth” as seen by Gnosticism, is discussed by 
G.R.S. Mead. Fragments of a Faith Forgotten, New York, I960, 186-87. 

189. Crowley, Book of Thoth, 89. 

190. Case, Book of Tokens, 83. 

191. Zohar, Nuhro de Manhar translation, 303. This passage is not found in 
the Sperling and Simon translation. 

192. St. Jerome was one of the “Fathers of the Church,” and the translator of 
the Vulgate, latin version of the Old and New Testaments. Because of the 
lion legend, the cat became known as the traditional pet of the scholar. 
See R6au, L’Art Chr&tien, v. Ill, 740-50, also Jameson, Sacred and 
Legendary Art, London 1891, V.I, 285-300. 

193. Case, Book of Tokens, 91-92. 

194. Note 9. 

195. Case, Tarot Fundamentals, 20.8. 

196. Revelation, 4.5. 

197. Crowley, Equinox, v.I, No. 5, 89. 

198. Waite, Pictorial Key, 96. 

199. Ezekiel, Iff. 

Notes 275 

200. Carl Jung made some extremely interesting observations on the vision of 
Ezekiel and the Chariot, particularly as related to Egyptian thought, in 
his essay “The Tetrasomia,” Alchemical Studies, New Jersey 1976, 278- 

201. Scholem, Major Trends, 44. 

202. Scholem, Major Trends, 46-47. 

203. L6vi, Ritual of Transcendental Magic, 338. 

204. Case, Book of Tokens, 83. 

205. Case, Book of Tokens, 87. 

206. Crowley, Book of Thoth, 84-85. 

207. The fact that this is the only reference to Teutonic mythology in the deck 
makes the attribution somewhat problematical. What we are calling 
“Odin” may, in fact represent an error resulting from the cards having 
been hand-copied over a period of years. Perhaps this figure had a moon 
helmet of some sort. Nevertheless, the helmet shown in the Golden Dawn 
deck, as published, is precisely as it appears in Regardie’s hand-painted 

208. Case, Tarot Interpretation, 7. 

209. Robert Graves, The Greek Myths, New York, 1957, 156: “The Sun’s 
subordination to the Moon, until Apollo usurped Helios’ place and made 
an intellectual deity of him, is a remarkable feature of early Greek myth.” 

210. Case, Thirty-Two Paths of Wisdom, Lesson 10, 1. 

211. Case, Thirty-Two Paths of Wisdom, Lesson 10, 2. 

212. Waite, Pictorial Key to the Tarot, 92. 

213. “Andromeda,” Oxford Classical Dictionary, 63-64. 

214. C.A. Burland, The Arts of the Alchemists, New York, 1967. 

215. Crowley, Book of Thoth, 84. 

216. “The Vision and the Voice,” subtitled “The Cry of the Second Aether 
which is called ARN” Equinox, v. I, No. 5, supplement, 148. This 
supplement was published as a separate book, The Vision and the Voice, 
Dallas, 1972, with extensive notes by Crowley as well as introductory 
comments by Israel Regardie. 

217. “Vision and the Voice,” Equinox, 149. 

218. Crowley, The Vision and the Voice, note 3, 225. 

219. Crowley, Book of Thoth, 80. 

220. See: Allen, ed. Christian Rosencreutz Anthology; Yates, Rosicrucian 

221. Waite, Pictorial Key to the Tarot, 88. 

222. Case, The Tarot, 79. 

223. Waite, Pictorial Key to the Tarot, 91. 

224. Arthur A. Tilley, “The Renaissance in Europe,” Cambridge Medieval 
History, Cambridge, 1969, 790, 791. 

225. Henry Cornelius Agrippa, The Philosophy of Natural Magic, New Jersey 
1974, 33. 

226. See forward to work cited above by Leslie Shepherd. 

227. Rudolph Koch, The Book of Signs, London 1930, 16. 

276 The Qabalistic Tarot 

228. Crowley, Book of Thoth, 79-80. 

229. Case, Book of Tokens, 67. 

230. Crowley, Book of Thoth, 79. 

231. Cavendish, The Tarot, 85. 

232. Elaine Pagels, The Gnostic Gospels, New York, 1979. 

233. G.R.S. Mead, Fragments of a Faith Forgotten, New York 1960, 307. Mead 
was one of the modem pioneers in the study of Gnosticism and while his 
work has been largely superceded by scholars such as Pagels, his insights 
remain instructive. 

234. Forward to work cited above, by Kenneth Rexroth, xviii. 

235. Case, Tarot Fundamentals, Lesson 11, 2-3. 

236. Jung, Archetypes, passim. 

237. In his text, THE EMPEROR remains on the fifteenth Path, but is 
assigned the letter Tzaddi. THE STAR remains on the twenty-eighth 
Path, but is Heh. Yet on his Tree of Life diagram, Thoth Tarot, 268, called 
“The Tarot-General Attribution,” THE STAR is actually shown on the 
fifteenth Path, and THE EMPEROR on the twenty-eighth. It will also be 
seen that in 777, Columns H and XTV, Crowley uses the standard 
attributions. One might suggest that Crowley decided late in life that 
these cards should be transposed, but remained uncertain about the Path 
placement. The curious discrepancy between the position of the cards in 
the text of the Thoth Tarot, and on the Tree of Life, suggests that he was 
at least considering switching the cards as well as the Hebrew letters. The 
original art of the cards shows THE EMPEROR as IV and Tzaddi, and 
THE STAR as XVII and Heh. 

238. Crowley, Book of Thoth, 78. 

239. Crowley, Book of Thoth, 77. 

240. Frazer, Golden Bough, 403. 

241. Larousse Encylopedia of Mythology, 214. 

242. Graves, Greek Myths, 49. 

243. Crowley, Book of Thoth, 77. 

244. Graves, Greek Myths, 49. 

245. Crowley, Book of Thoth, 75. 

246. Regardie, Golden Dawn, v. I, 153. 

247. Gareth Knight, Practical Guide, v. II, 145-50. 

248. The camel can go long distances without water. This may be taken at one 
level, to mean a long experience without the reward of contact with the 
intelligence for which we search on this Path. 

249. Crowley, Book of Thoth, 73. 

250. Case, Book of Tokens, 37. 

251. Graves, Greek Myths, 124, 348. See also “Hecate,” Oxford Classical 
Dictionary, 490, which discusses the confusions surrounding Selene, and 
points out that no cult of the Moon existed in ancient Greece. 

252. Graves, Greek Myths, 85. 

253. Graves, ibid. 

254. C.G. Jung, Symbols of Transformation, New Jersey, 1976, 323. 

Notes 277 

255. Crowley, Book of Thoth, 74. The A.A., meaning ‘Astrum Argentum,’ or 
“Silver Star,” was the Order founded by Crowley, in 1907, on essentially 
Golden Dawn principles. In 1909 he began to publish The Equinox as the 
official organ of the A. A. Crowley had apparently joined the O.T.O (“Ordo 
Templi Orientis”) in 1905. This latter, intended as a continuation of the 
Knights Templar, was founded in 1904. The story of both organizations, 
and of the Golden Dawn and other such fraternities, is told by Francis 
King in The Rites of Modern Occult Magic, New York 1971. 

256. Case, Tarot Fundamentals, Lesson 8, 10-11. 

257. Waite, Pictorial Key, 76. 

258. Case, The Tarot, 52. 

259. Waite, Pictorial Key, IQ. 

260. Manley Palmer Hall, Encyclopedic Outline, XCV. 

261. Cavendish, The Tarot, 71. 

262. Waite comments on this card in his Shadows of Life and Thought, 188-89: 
“It is to be noted that though Venetian, Florentine and French packs 
differ somewhat clearly, of course betwen narrow limits, Pope Joan has 
never been termed the Abbess in any, nor can I recall her being so 
depicted that such a denomination could apply and thus include the 
design among ecclesiastical estates in Christendom. She comes therefore, 
as I have intimated, from another region and another order of things. . . 
Pope Joan represents not improbably a vestige of the Astarte cultus. I do 
not pretend to be satisfied with the explanation. . .only one point emerges 
in all certainty: whatever the card may have stood for originally, it was 
not the mythical Female Pope, an ascription which arose as a leap in the 
dark of ignorance on the part of people - whether in France or Italy - who 
knew the Pope Joan Legend but had never heard of Astarte and much less 
of Isis.” 

263. Fabre d’Olivet, The Hebraic Tongue Restored, part II, 25. His original 
translation reads: “ Preincrement, en principe.” 

264. Zohar, Simon and Sperling trans., v. I, 9. 

265. Zohar, Simon and Sperling trans., v. I, 12. 

266. Zohar, Simon and Sperling trans., v. I, 13. 

267. “Hermes,” Oxford Classical Dictionary, 502-3. 

268. Regardie, Golden Dawn, v. I, 138. 

269. Case, Book of Tokens, 23-24. 

270. See: Wang, Secret Temple, passim. 

271. Peter de Albano, Heptameron. This treatise is section III of Fourth Book 
of Occult Philosophy, by Henry Cornelius Agrippa, London 1978, 73ff. 

272. Francis Barrett, The Magus, London 1801. The 1967 reprint of this work 
contrains an admirable introduction by Timothy d’Arch Smith. 

273. Graves, Greek Myths, 66. 

274. Exhibition of Occult and Alchemical Designs for the Cards of the Tarot of 
the Egyptians, undated, but probably 1944. 

275. Crowley, Book of Thoth, 72. 

276. Crowley, Book of Thoth, 70. 

278 The Qabalistic Tarot 

277. Knight, Practical Guide, v. II, 204. 

278. Case, The Tarot, 29. 

279. Crowley, Book of Thoth, 53. 

280. Zohar, Simon and Sperling trans., v. I, 11. 

281. Case, Thirty-Two Paths of Wisdom, Lesson 7, 1. 

282. Budge, The Gods of the Egyptians, v. I, 469. 

283. Budge, The Gods of the Egyptians, v. I, 78, 145. 

284. Goblet D’Alviella, The Migration of Symbols, Wellingborough, 1979. Carl 
Jung’s work, which some may find antiseptic and dispassionate. Yet the 
inner process of encountering these archetypes was overwhelming as 
Jung explains in personal terms, in his autobiographical Memories, 
Dreams, Reflections, New York 1973. 

286. Crowley, Book of Thoth, 69. 

287. Manley Palmer Yie\\, Encyclopedic Outline, XCII. 

288. Waite, Pictorial Key, 153. 

289. Case, The Tarot, 29ff. 

290. Crowley, Book of Thoth, 53-68. 

291. Regardie, Golden Dawn, I, 106. 

292. These meanings are extracted from several sections of Regardie’s Golden 
Dawn. The language is that of MacGregor Mathers. 



A.A., Crowley Order, 238 

Abyss, 77, 158 

Aces, 56-60 

Adam and Eve, 217 

Adam Kadmon, 34, 54 

Adeptus Major, 84, 86 

Adeptus Minor, 11, 17, 28, 86 

Agape, 184 

Age of Aquarius, 226 

Agrippa, Henry Cornelius, 24, 221-222 

Ahura-Mazda, 237 

Aima Elohim, Isis as, 148 

Ain Soph Aur, 39 

Air (Maternal), Aleph, 245, 247 

Akasha, 247 

Akashic Fluid, 109, 175 

Akashic Record, 110 

Albano, Pietro de, 244 

Aleph-Lamed, relationship, 193, 247 

Alpha and Omega, 146, 194 

Altar of the Mysteries, Double-Cube, 76, 117 

Amrita or Elixir, 181 

anabolism-catabolism, 79 

Anael, Ruler of Astral Light, 153 

Ancient Bearded King seen in profile, 229 

Ancient of Days, 229 

Anger, Samekh, 176, 179 

anima, virgin anima, 238 

Anima Mundi, 190 

animus, 228 

Ankh Cross, 194, 229 

Anubis, 161, 193, 200 

Aphrodite, 232-233 

Aphophis, dragon which is accuser, 200 
Apollo, 64, 157, 215, 237 
Apron, 105 

Aquarius, 67, 87, 93, 96, 102, 131, 162 
Aralim, 212 

Archangels, 49-50, 60, 147, 168 
Arel, Ruler of Latent Heat, 153 
Aries, 48, 63-64, 71, 74, 80, 97, 121, 131, 176, 211, 
228, 229 
Arikh Anpin, 34 
Armor, 218 
Artemis, 161, 237; 

The Hanged One, 237 
Astral current, fluctuation of tides, 177 
Astral, deceptive plane, 147 
Astral Fluid, 187 

Astral Light, 108-111, 156, 175, 185 
Astral Light, reversal of, 174 
Astral Projection, 99 
Astral Triangle, 32 
Auphanim, 212 


Bacchus Diphues, 250 
Bahir, Sepher ha, 22, 31 
Bahomet, 250 
Banishing Rituals, 28 
Barrett, Francis, 244 
Beast of Revelation, 60 
hep 999 

Beetle of the Sun, 162 
Bennett, Alan, 12, 188 
Bhagauad Gita, 56, 169, 214 
Binah, Understanding, 69-71 
Blavatsky, 27 
Blood of the Red Lion, 181 
Body, as Temple of the Holy Spirit, 115 
Book of the Law, 153, 165, 193 
Book of Thoth, 104, 243 
Book of Tokens, xvi, 208, 212, 224, 243 
Book 'T,' 15-17, 26, 189 
BOTA, Builders of the Adytum, xv, xvi, 26, 
216, 229, 238; 

Vault, 26 

280 The Qabalistic Tarot 

Bourbon, Stephen de, 239 

Bride of Microprosopus, 55, 117, 121 

Buddha, 4, 91, 174, 201, 203, 237 

Budge, Wallis, 200 

bull, 68, 214; Sacred white, 224 

Butler, W.E., xvi 


Caduceus, 242, (Fig. 32) 245, 250 
Cain, slays Abel, 219 
Camel, Gimel, 234-236 

Cancer, 64, 67, 72, 75, 81, 95, 131, 157, 159, 210- 

Capricorn, 65, 73, 76, 83, 96, 131, 172 
Case, xv, xvi, 3, 26, 27, 37, 148, 150, 155, 160, 
163-164, 169, 173, 179, 182, 208, 211- 
212, 216, 235, 238, 243, 246, 248 
Causaubon, 25 
Cavendish, Richard, 224 
Cerberus, three-headed dog-guardian of hell, 

Chansons de Gestes, 2 
chaos, 232 
chain, 85 

chakras, 129, 178, 208 
Chaldean Oracles of Zoroaster, 43 
Chariot, 210-212, 214, See: Merkabah 
Charioteer, as Supreme Spiritual Self, 214 
Chardin, Teillard de, 247 
Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosencreutz, 
26, 171, 219 
Cheops, 197 
Chiah, 36 

Chokmah, Wisdom, 60-63; EMPRESS as low- 
er, 235 

Christ, 4, 82, 91, 110, 170, 174, 190, 201-203; 
and lobster, 161; 
resurrection of, 161; 
as Fish, 184; 

Pantocrator, 204; 
entry into Jerusalem, 238 
Chronos, 70-71 

circumcision, as covenant, 171 
cloth of honor, 194 
color scales, 39 
Coleridge, 184 
Collins, Carr, 14 

Components of the Self: Spiritual, Higher and 
Personality, 141, 142 (Fig. 29) 
Confessio Fraternitas, 26 
Contrasexual component, 227 
com, symbol of Isis-Ceres, 69 
Cosmic Dancer, 148, 196, 208 
Cosmic Eye, third eye of inner vision, 170 
Court cards on Tree of Life, 46 (Fig. 12) 
covenant, 217 
crab, 67 

crayfish, 159, 161; 

symbol of Moon retrograde, 75 
creative imagination, 184, 233 
Crook of Bishop, pastoral shepherd, 80 
crocodile, 250 

crown, 54, 168, 170-171, 204 
cross, of calvary, 91; 

above triangle, 188, 190; 
triple, of the western peoples, 222 

crucible of the Alchemists, 150, 156 
crucifixion, 189; in space, 189 
cryptogram, book of Genesis as, 61 
cube, 91 

Cube of Space, 91, 131-135, 214 
Cupid, 219 

curcurbite or retort, 181 
Cynocephalus, companion of Thoth, 104, 199, 

Cypher Manuscripts, 11, 27, 160, 247 
cypress trees, sacred to Venus, 233 


Daath, Knowledge, 45, 77 
Daniel, 207 

darkness, 206, 208, 211; 
at noon, 185 

Dark Night of the Soul, 139, 177, 185, 188, 

Dark Sterile Mother, 73 
David, 173; descendants of, 209 
Death, Nun, 181-186; 

as the Black Knight, 185 
Decans, subdivisions of the zodiac, 47-48, 49 
(Fig. 14) 

Dee, John, 25, 27 
Demeter, 72 

Demeter-Persephone, 153 

Demiurge, Lesser Creator, 78, 199-201, 203, 225 

desert-abyss, 235 

desire nature, 182-185 

DEVIL, Ayin, 172 

Devil, as master of form, 173 

Devotional Path, 105 

Dhyana, 188 

Diana, 71, 110, 122, 160; 

Diana- Artemis, 237; 
the Huntress as Sagittarius, 177 
Diogenes, 202 
Dionysus Zagreus, 250 
divine frenzy, 208 
divine rage, 179 
Dis, Roman God of dead, 169 
discrimination, virtue of Malkuth, 147 
dissolution, process of Alchemy, 144, 200 
as analysis, 175 

dissociation, in meditative exercises, 251 
divination, 252-254 
divisions of the Soul, 36 
dog, of Artemis and moon, 160-161; 
on FOOL card, 249; 
as symbol of intellect, 249 
dolphin, 64, 121 
door, Daleth, 230 
Dorjes, Tibetan thunderbolt, 63 
dove, 169; 

of Venus, 58, 250 


eagle, 184, 219, 234; 
claws, 175; 
symbol of Water, 96; 
two-headed, 229 
Edomites, 171 
Egg of Spirit, Akasha, 247 

Index 281 

eights, 106-108 
Einstein, 164 
Elements, 148; 

forms of, 42 (Fig. 10), 43; 
cardinal, fixed and mutable on Tree of 
Life, 133 (Fig. 23) 

Elemental Fire Wand, 96 
Elemental Kings, 91, 95 
Elemental Paths, 150 
Elemental Weapons, 243 
Eleusian Mysteries, 238 
Enochian Chess, 25 
Enochian magic, 25 
Enochian Tablets, 99, 190 
Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus, 79, 
100, 174 

EMPEROR, Heh, 225-229 
EMPRESS, Daleth, 230-234 
Equal-armed cross, 117 
Equinox, Crowley magazine, 14, 135, 219 
Etheric body, 109 

ethical preparation, need for according to 
Case, 182 

Ethical Triangle, 32 
Eucharist, 184 
Evangelists, 198; 

symbols of, 95 
Eve, 219 

evil, unbalanced force, 55; 

positive and negative, 55 
evocation, as distinct from invocation, 117 
Exaltation, Alchemical, 213 
ex cathedra, pronouncement by Pope, 222 
Experience of the Inner Worlds, xvii 
eye, Ayin, 172, 174 
Eye of Horus, 250 
Ezekiel, 198, 211, 213 


Fall, 115 

Fama Fraternitas, 26, 28, 219 
Female Pope, 2 
fence, Cheth, 210, 212 
fertility-solitude, Resh, 154 
fish, 64, 182-184; 

Nun, 181-184 

fish-hook, Tzaddi, 162, 163, 184 

First Earth, 204 

First Matter, 184, 236, 238, 240; 

O.T.O. sexual symbolism of, 181 
First Principle, 187, 240 
fist, Caph, 195-196 
Fives, 85-88 

Flaming Sword, Path of, 127, 128 (Fig. 20) 
Fleur de Lys, 229 
Fludd, Robert, 26, 31, 57 
FOOL, Aleph, 245-250 

Form and Force, patterns on the Tree of Life, 
140, 141 (Fig. 28) 

Fortune, Dion, 55, 80, 84, 208; 

Society of the Inner Light, 58 
Fours, 80-83 

Four Rivers of Paradise, 236 
Four Worlds, 39, 40 (Fig. 9); 
color scales of, 40 

Fractio Panes, 184 
frenzy, Divine, 208 


Garden of Eden, 110, 165-166, 210, 216-217, 228, 

Garden of The EMPRESS, 236 
Gate of Heaven, 230 
Gebelin, Court de, 186 
Geburah, Strength, 83; 

Sword of, 97 

Gematria, 22, 135-136, 209, 235 
Gemini, 68, 75, 107, 112, 119, 131, 157, 180, 211, 
girdle, 101 
Gnomes, 116 
Gnosticism, 224 

Gnostic Mysteries, Valentinian, 225 
goat, 176 

God of Armies, 169 
Graal, Holy, 214, 219 
grace-indignation, Peh, 166 
Grand Old Man of the Zohar, 34 
Great Fool of the Celts, 250 
Great Magical Agent, 175 
Great Sea, 70, 75, 110, 164 
group mind, 99 
Gunas, 200 


Hall, Manly Palmer, 249 
hand, Yod, 201 
HANGED MAN, 186-190 
Harlequin, as partner of Fool, 194 
Harpocrates, 248, 250; 

as god of Silence, 248, see: Horus 
Harris, Lady Freida, 15, 244 
head, back of, Qoph, 158 
head, Resh, 154, 155 
hearing, Vau, 220, 222 

Hebrew alphabet, table of values and mean- 
ings, 136; 
based on Yod, 44 
Hecate, 71, 110, 161, 237 
Hecate-Selene, “Far shooting Moon” aspect of 
Artemis, 237 
Helios, 215 
Heptamaron, 244 
Hermanubis, 199, 200 
hermaphrodite, Hod as, 105 
hermaphroditism, 219 
Hermes, 104, 241, 244; 

Thoth-Mercury, 164; 
as “Herad of Hades,” 244 
Hermes Trismegistus, 26 
herms, 244 
Hermetica, 23, 25 

Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, xv, xvi, 3, 
10, 14, 98, 217; 
grade structure, 36 
hermit, meaning ‘desert,’ 202 
HERMIT, Yod, 201-205 
Hesiod, 237 

hexagram, 68, 94, 113, 146, 155, 223; 

attribution of planets to, 89, 90 (Fig. 16) 

282 The Qabalistic Tarot 

HIEROPHANT, Vau, 220-225 
Higher Self, 7, 77, 89, 139, 141, 142 (Fig. 29), 
156, 169 

HIGH PRIESTESS, Gimel, 234-239 

Hod, Splendor, 103-106 

Holy Guardian Angel, 7, 77, 115, 171, 177 

Holy Ghost, 191 

horse, 67, 214; 

white, of Apollo, 157 
Horus, 200; 
child, 223; 
eye of, 250; 
gods, 249j 

as Hru, “Great Angel of Tarot,” 248; 
related to Ra, 249; 
see: Harpocrates 
house, Beth, 239-240 
House of God, 168 
Howe, Ellic, 1 
Hru, see: Horus 


I AO, ritual formula, 190 

Ibis, eats eggs of snake and the dead, 75 

imagination, Tzaddi, 162-3 

imaginative visualization, 163 

Inferior Mother, 117, 121 

Inner Robe of Concealment, 204 

“Invisible Sephira,” Daath, 77 

Isis, 70, 75, 110, 161, 248 

Isis-Nephthys, 153 


jackal, 161, 193-194 
Janus, Janus-Pater, 231-232 
Joachim and Boaz, columns of Temple, 214 
Judah, tribe of, 209 
Judas Maccabeus, 169 
JUDGMENT, Shin, 149-153 
Jung, C.G., xvi, 4, 7, 183, 187, 207, 227, 238 
Jupiter, 65, 78, 82, 92, 107, 112, 129, 160, 179, 
193-194, 213, 220 
JUSTICE, Lamed, 190-194 
Justice, scale of, 194 


Kabbalah Unveiled, 20, 22 
Kabiri, 190 
Kabiric death, 190 
karma, 192, 219 
karmic action, 47 
karmic debts, 47 

karmic forces. Tarot Trumps as, 50 

Kelly, Edward, 25 

Kephera, 159 

Kerubic Emblems, 96 

Kerubim, 95, 208, 213, 222 

Kether, The Crown, 53-56 

Khabs am Pekht, Konx om Pax, 205 

King, Black, 219 

King, Francis, 1, 181 

Kings, 66-69 

Kings of Edom, 169 

Knight, Gareth, xvii, 134, 184, 192, 214, 235, 

Knights Templar, 250 
Krishna, 4, 169 

Kundalini, 8, 109, 149, 152, 163, 203, 207 
Kybalion, 5-6, 238 


lamb, 229 
Lamb of God, 16 
Law, Scroll of, 238-239 
Lamed, ox-goad, 190-191; 
work, 190; 

encompassing all Paths, 194 
lamp, 107 
lemniscus, 240 

Leo, 48, 68, 86, 92, 95, 101, 131, 205-207 
leopard, 74 

Lesser Banishing Ritual, 252 
L6vi, Eliphas, 6, 174, 196, 211, 213 
Liber Al, 213 

Libra, 65, 73, 75, 82, 96, 131, 190, 193 

Life-death, Beth, 239 

Light, Negative Limitless, 39 

lightning, 168 

Lightning flash, 169, 170 

lilies, 59 

Lilith, 219 

lion, 206-207, 210; 

becomes Lamb of Revelation, 209; 
related to Saturn, 206; 

Green Lion, 207; 

Red Lion, 207; 

Old Lion, 207 

Living Creatures of Ezekial, 211 
Living Water, 178 
Logos, 167, 203, 206, 209, 223 
lotus, 57, 72, 75, 96, 102 
Lotus Wand, 86 

love, formative energy of the Universe, 232 
LOVERS, Zain, 215-220 
Lucifer as Light-Bearer, 166 


maat, 193 

Maat as daughter of Ra, 193; 

vulture of, 250 
Macrocosm, 233 
Macrocosm-Microcosm, 99, 226 
Macroprosopus, 34, 77, 201, 221, 224, 231 
Magician as Son and Word, 245 
MAGICIAN, Beth, 239-245 
Magical Image, 56 
Magna Mater, 228 
Magus, Francis Barrett, 244 
Maier, Michael, 26 

Major Arcana on the Tree of Life, 125-126 (Fig. 

Malkuth, Kingdom, 114-117 
Marriage, Alchemical, 217; 

Royal, of opposites, 219 

Index 283 

Mars, 48, 63, 73, 79, 83-84, 86-87, 100-101, 112, 
118, 129, 153, 166, 168, 171, 173, 175, 
185, 193-194 

Mary, as Church, 71, 117 
Masters, 80 

“Master’s body,” according to Case, 150 
Maternal letters, 125, 146; 

on Tree of Life, 127 (Fig. 19) 

Mathers, MacGregor, 3, 6, 11-12, 20, 23, 25, 28, 
50, 69, 74, 76, 85, 129, 161, 175, 184, 
190, 218, 229, 232 
matter, as illusion, 174 
Maya, 111 
Mead, G.R.S., 225 
Medici, Cosimo di, 23 
meditation, 163-164 
meditative exercises, 251 
Medusa, 122, 217 
memory, 236 

menstrum of the Gluten, 181 
Mercury, 48, 70, 72, 87, 93, 103-106, 116, 119, 
129, 156, 164, 164, 172, 204, 214, 216, 
218-219, 232, 239, 241-242 (Fig. 31); 
God of trickery, 106; 

encompasses all but Kether, 242 (Fig. 30); 
Magician as, 234 
Mercury, Sulphur, Salt, 74, 236; 

attributed to Sephiroth, 200 
Merkabah, 211 
Merkabah Mysticism, 20 
Metals of the Alchemists, 129 
Michael, Archangel, Ruler of Solar Fire, 153 
Microcosm, 233 

Microprosopus, 34, 77, 109, 127, 158, 179-180, 
201-202, 213, 218, 221, 224, 231-232, 248 
Middle Pillar, cards on the, 138 (Fig. 26); 

exercise, 34, 109, 185, 208 
Minerva, 122 

Minor Cards, on Tree of Life, 45 (Fig. 11); 
and Court Cards attributed to zodiac, 51 
(Fig. 15) 

Minotaur, 224 

Miracle of loaves and fishes, 184 
Mirandola, Pico della, 24-25 
mirth, Ayin, 172, 174 

Moon, 48, 65, 70-71, 75, 79, 81, 94, 102, 104-105, 
108, 110-111, 116, 122, 129, 153, 156, 
158-162, 214, 216, 218-220, 222-223, 229, 
232, 234-235, 237 
Mosaic Law, 19 

Moses, 173, 202, 203, 207, 208, 209; 
on Sinai, 20; 
as Thau-maturge, 203 
Moses de Leon, 22 

Mother, Bright Fertile and Dark Sterile, 70 

Mother of Light, EMPRESS as, 231 

Mother Mary, 184 

mouth, Peh, 166-167, 170 

movement, Nun, 181, 185 

Mystic Circle, 117 


nail, Vau, 220, 224 
Names and Versicles, 104 

Negative Limitless Light, 39 
Neo-Pythagoreans, 133-134 
Nephthys, 161 
Neptune, 48, 64 
Nereids, 217 
Nereus, 217 

Netzach, Victory, 98-101 
Nines, 111-113 
Nirvana, 146 
Nuith, Sky Goddess, 153 


Odic Force, 109, 175 
Odin, 190, 214, 228 
olive branch, 59 
Olivet, Fabre de, 240 

opposites, cards considered as, 137 (Fig. 25) 
orb, 80; 

inverted, 97; 
of the Sun, 233; 
of dominion, 229; 
and cross, 228, 233 
Orphic Egg, 204 
Orphic Path, 105 

Osiris, 91, 110, 184, 190, 203, 237, 248; 

as a black God, 213 
ostrich feathers of Maat, 194 
O.T.O., 181 

Ouspensky, P.D., 15, 55 
Outer Robe of Concealment, 70, 204 
Ovid, 232 
Ox, Aleph, 245 


Pagels, Elaine, 21 
palm, 238; 

of suffering, 59 
Pan Pangenetor, 176 
Papal cross, 222 
“Parent of Faith,” Binah, 71 
Pasiphae, 224 
Path working, xvi, 35 

Path of the Flaming Sword, 32 (Fig. 3), 78, 100, 
127, 137, 182 
Paths, secret, 37; 

man in continuous state of travelling, 47 
Pausanius, 160 
Peace-war, Gimel, 234 
peacock, 67 

pearls, sacred to Venus, 233 
perfume, 111 
pelican, 233 

Pentacle, magical symbol of Earth, 59 
Pentateuch (first five books of Bible), 19, 240, 

Pentagram, 85, 97, 213, 223; 

attribution of Elements, 37 (Fig. 7); 
inverted of Devil, 87 
Persephone, 72 
Perseus, 217, 219; 

and Andromeda, 122 

Personality, 77, 89, 139, 142 (Fig. 29) 154, 156, 

284 The Qabalistic Tarot 

Pharoah, 197 
Philo, 203 

Philosopher’s Stone, 173, 174, 181, 213 
Philosophic Mercury, 129, 200, 204, 207, 226, 
236, 240 
phoenix, 67; 

wand of, 86, 96 

physiological changes in Adepthood, 156 
pillars, 33; 

of High Priestess, 238; 
on Tree of Life, 33; 

from Temple of Solomon, 237, also see: 
Joachim and Boaz 
Pisces, 67, 74, 107, 112, 118, 131, 159 
planetary attributions to Tree of Life, 129, 130 
(Fig. 21) 

Plato, 23, 203; 

archetypes, 79 
Platonic Academy, 23 
Pluto, 48 
point, 43, 53, 54 
Pomegranates, 238; 

fruit of Persephone, 72 
Pontifex, Hierophant as “Bridgemaker,” 221 
Pope, 222; Joan, 239 
power-servitude, Tau, 145 
Priapus, 175 
Prima Materia, 236, 241 
Primal Will, 243 
Primum Mobile, 246 
Princes, 94-97 
Princesses, 120-123 
Prop, Samekh, 176-177 
psychokinesis, 110 
Ptolemy, system of Decans, 47; 

Centiloquy, 90 
Purgatory, 192 
putrifaction, 183-185 
pyramid, 74, 80; 

Great, 197 
Pythagoras, 173 


Qlippoth, 55, 170 
Queen, White, 219 
Queens, 74-76 


Ra, Sun God, 193 
rainbow, 153, 180 
ram, 122; 

of Aries, 229; 
horn, 175 
red cross, 60; 
banner, 153 

redemption and fall, 91 
Red Lion, 180 

red tincture of Alchemists, 229 

Regardie, Francis Israel, xvi, 8, 12, 13, 50, 252 

Reichanbach, Baron von, 109 

Reuchlin, Johannes, 24 

Rich Fisherman, Parsifal, 250 

riches-poverty, Caph, 195 

Rising on the Planes, 116 
ritual grades, 35-36 
Four Rivers of Paradise, 153, 211 
Root Matter, 236 

rose, 60, 65, 75, 100, 102, 113, 157, 185; 

meaning freedom from lower desire, 250 
Rose Cross, 94, 157; 

of 49 petals, 94 
Rose Cross Lamen, 57, 91 
Rosencreutz, Christian, 26, 189 
Rosenroth, Knorr von, 22 
ROTA, TARO, TORA, ORAT, 186, 238 
rotation, 197 


Sacrificed Gods, 91 

Sagittarius, 67, 76, 106, 112, 118, 131, 176-177, 

Salamanders, 116 

Salt, Alchemical, EMPRESS as, 233-234; 

Chokmah as, 234 
Salt, Sulphur, Mercury, 200 
Sammadhi, 188 

Samael, Ruler of Volcanic Fire, 153 
sandals. 111 
Sangrael Foundaton, 14 
Sattva, Rajas and Tamas, 74, 200 
Saturn, 36 (Fig. 6), 48, 61, 69, 70, 73, 86, 103, 
107, 118, 129, 145, 148, 164, 166, 183, 
193, 206; 

devours its children, 62 
scales of Justice, 193 
scarabaeus (dung beetle), 159 
Scarlet Woman, 209, 224 
sceptre, 80 

Scholem, Gershom, 1, 5, 21, 211 

Scorpio, 66, 86, 96, 102, 131, 181, 184-185 

scorpion, 184 

scourge, 85 

Secret Chiefs, 11, 188 

Secret Paths, 37 (Fig. 8) 

Sepher Yetzirah, 9, 21, 29-30, 125, 131, 146-147, 
150, 155, 159, 179, 183, 185, 201, 203, 
206, 222, 229 
Seraphim, 152 

serpent, 96, 109, 169, 181, 184-185, 190, 202, 204, 
208, 218, 241; 

with tail in its mouth, see: Uroboros; 
Nechesh or Leviathon, 209; 

Set as, related to Saturn, Satan and 
Bahomet, 250 
Sevens, 101-103 
Seven Palaces of Assiah, 146 
sexual love, Yod, 201-202 
Shahn, Ben, 44 
Shemhamaphoresch, 72; 

Names of God, 148 
sight, Heh, 225, 228 

Signs of Zodiac on Tree of Life, 131, 132 (Fig. 

22 ) 

silence, sign of, 249 

Simon Magus and Simonian Gnostics, 203 
Simon and Sperling, translators of Zohar, 22 
Sixes, 92-94 

Index 285 

skeleton, 184; 

mounted and in armor, 185 
skrying, 251 
sleep, Qoph, 158, 162 
smell, Zain, 215, 218 
Smith, Pamela Colman, 13-14 
snake, Teth, 205-206 
Solar Logos, 163, see: Logos 
Solar and Lunar currents, 216 
Solomon, 173 

solve et coagula, Alchemical formula, 218 
spear, 85 

speach, Cheth, 210 
Sphinx, 197, 198, 214; 

Greek form of, 197; 

Oedipus and, 197; 

as synthesis of Elemental Forces, 197 
Spiritual Self, 54, 77, 139, 141, 142 (Fig. 29) 
St. John of the Cross, 61, 185, 188, 235 
St. Theresa, 109, 178 
stag, 69 

Star, evening, 166 
STAR, Tzaddi, 162-168 
Steiner, Rudolph, 26 
“Stele of Revealing,” 153, 209 
Stella Maris, 184 
Stella Matutina, 13 
Stoics, 203 
Stone of Adam, 166 
STRENGTH, Teth, 205-210 
Sulphur, EMPEROR as, 234; 

Binah as, 234 

Sulphur, Salt, Mercury, 226 
Sun, subordinate to Moon, 214 
SUN, Resh, 154 

Sun, 48, 71, 79, 83, 88-89, 108, 111, 116, 119, 129, 
153-157, 159,163-165, 171, 180-181, 
185, 193, 207, 209, 214-220, 222, 225, 
228-229, 232, 248 
sunflowers, 157 
Supernal Father, 61 
Supernal Mother, 117 
Supernal Triangle, 32 
swan, 121 

swastica or gammadion, 55, 146, 187, 223 
sword, 85, 194, 228; 
of Geburah, 192; 
of good or evil, 59; 

Zain, 215, 218 
Sylphs, 116 


taste, Teth, 205-206 
Tattvas, 88, 99, 116, 213 
Tau cross, 189-190 

Taurus, 68, 87, 94, 97, 103, 131, 157, 211, 220- 
221, 223 

teaching, through The HIEROPHANT, 221 

TEMPERANCE, Samekh, 176-181 

Temple of Solomon, 167 

Tens, 117-120 

Tetragrammaton, 39 

Thoth, 75, 104, 241 

Threes, 71-4 

tiger, 121, 249 
Tiphareth, Beauty, 88-91 
Titans, 222 

Thinking Principle, 187 
Thirty-Two Paths of Wisdom, 21, 29, 139, 145, 
150, 155, 160, 184, 187, 211, 223 
Thoth, 193; 

as inventor of writing, 199 
Throne 212; 

mysticism, 211 
Tolkein, J.R.R., 2 
tooth, Shin, 149, 152 
Torah, 19 

tortoise, Hindu with elephant on back, 122 
torch, inverted of Devil, 174-175 
TOWER, Peh, 166-172 
tower of Babel, 169; 

as phallus, 171 
Tree of Life, 29, 34; 

triangles on, 32 (Fig. 3), 98; 
three-dimensional, 33, 213 
Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, 164-165 
(Fig. 30), 217 
triangle, 44; 
of Art, 117 

Trithemius, Abbot, 11, 221 
turtle, 121 
Twos, 63-66 
Typhon, 199; 

father of Sphinx, 200; 
as Set, 200 


Undines, 116 

Unicursal Hexigram, 38 (Fig. 8) 

Universal Teacher, HIEROPHANT as, 222 

UNIVERSE, Tau, 145-149 

“Upper Room,” 134 

uraeus serpent, 194 

Uranus, 48, 186 

uroboros, 65, 240 


Valentinus, Basilius, 218 
veil, of the Temple, 238; 
of the Abyss, 229; 
of High Priestess, 236 

Venus, 48, 58, 64-65, 70, 80, 84-85, 87, 98, 99-100 
(Fig. 17), 101, 103, 105, 113, 116, 129, 
166, 168, 193-194, 230, 232-233, 250; 
symbol of, encompassing all Sephiroth, 
99, 100 (Fig. 17), 193, 232 
vesica piscis, 194 
vibration, 179; 
first, 242; 

of God Name, 167; 
rates of, 226, 236; 
words as, 247 
virgin birth, 231 
Virgin Map', 231 
virgin’s milk, fed to Stone, 238 
Virgo, 68, 75, 108, 113, 119, 131, 201, 204 
Virtues and Liberal Arts, 2 

286 The Qabalistic Tarot 


Waite, Arthur Edward, 13-14 
Walker, D.P., 1 

wand, of Golden Dawn Chief, 86, 176 
water, Mem, maternal letter, 186; 

High Priestess as source of, 235 
weighing of souls, 199 
Westcott, William Wynn, 11, 28, 135 
wheel, of Life, iconography of, 199; 

of birth, death and rebirth, 196 
WHEEL OF FORTUNE, Caph, 195-201 
White Lion, 180 
Whore of Babylon, 209 
window, Heh, 225 
Wirth, Oswald, Tarot designs, 212 
wisdom-folly, Daleth, 230 
Wise Old Man, archetype, 207 

wolf, 161, 249; 

Fenris, which devoured Odin, 249 
Words of Power, 167 


Yates, Frances, 1 
Yeats, W.B., 11 
Yesod, Foundation, 108-111 
Young, Ella, 12-13 


Zodiac, 47, 59, 61, 148, 157, 196, 219, 220-222 
Zohar, 9, 22, 27, 164, 169, 206, 225, 240, 246, 
247, 248 

zero, as fertile nothingness, 247 
Zeus Arrhenothelus, 250